However, this lecture is intended to give an introduction to fundamental aspects of how some pollutants interact with living organisms to cause deleterious effects. The complexity will be explained and simplified where possible. You should understand at least a little about the biology of key organisms and how pollutants cause damage at a physiological level. You should be aware of how pollutants can induce change in organisms which can be used as a ‘biometry of the presence and action of the pollutants (although this will form the subject of a later lecture in this course).
Thus as the main outcome of this lecture you should have an appreciation of the wide range of contemporary issues that are caused by toxic chemicals in the environment and what regulatory authorities are doing to monitor and intro them. You should understand the main hazards that toxic chemicals pose and how risk to humans and wildlife is controlled. You should be aware of the main groups of pollutants of contemporary concern.
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The material covered will be useful for the consideration of two case studies on the impact of toxic chemicals in the Great Lakes of North America and the Baltic Sea in later lectures. [pica] Environmental Toxicology or Ichthyology? Introduction It was after World War II that increasing concern about the impact of toxic chemicals on the environment led Toxicology to expand from the study of OIC impacts of chemicals on man to that of toxic impacts on the environment. This subject became known as Environmental Toxicology.
Ichthyology is a relatively new discipline and was first defined by Rene Author in 1969. It attempts to combine two very different subjects: ecology (“the scientific study of interactions that determine the distribution and abundance of organisms” Krebs 1985) and toxicology (“the study of injurious effects of substances on living organisms”, usually man). In toxicology the organisms sets the limit of the investigation whereas Ichthyology aspires to asses the impact of chemicals not only on individuals but also on populations and whole ecosystems.