Ecosystems and Human Health

Toxicology and Environmental Hazards, Third Edition

By Richard B. Philp

© 2013 – CRC Press

440 pages | 4 Color Illus. | 47 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:
Hardback: 9781466567214
pub: 2013-03-27
US Dollars$132.95

About the Book

Since the second edition of this text was published, many new environmental incidents have occurred, including another nuclear disaster, a mine disaster in the United States, and the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Updated throughout the text, Ecosystems and Human Health: Toxicology and Environmental Hazards, Third Edition explores the broad range of environmental and human health aspects of chemical and biological hazards—from natural toxins and disasters to man-made pollutants and environmental crises.

The book begins with the basic principles of pharmacology and toxicology, risk analysis, and air, water, and soil pollution. It then examines various toxicants and hazards, such as airborne hazards, halogenated hydrocarbons, metals, and organic solvents. Chapters also discuss food additives and contaminants, pesticides, hormone disrupters, radiation hazards, and natural environmental hazards such as venomous and toxic animals. The text reviews the Chernobyl nuclear crisis and the Walkerton drinking water tragedy, as well as other disasters, assessing some of their long-term effects, now that sufficient time has elapsed since their occurrence.

With updates in every chapter, this third edition contains significant expansion of information on the genetics of chemical carcinogenesis, global warming, food additives, invasive species in the Great Lakes, nuclear accidents, and more. The book describes how chemical toxins and biological hazards can impact the environment and the people who live in it. The author presents numerous examples of the relationship between ecosystem health and human health. He emphasizes the need to consider the environmental impact of human activities and includes many real-world examples and new case studies.


"The chapters are very well organized, providing a historical perspective on the toxicity of compounds and outlining the major categories within each class of toxins. The chapters provide useful review questions and references for further reading. … Ecosystems and Human Health: Toxicology and Environmental Hazards, Third Edition by Richard Philp provides a general overlook of a vast range of subjects that are of current interest in the field of toxicology. The compilation of such topics into a single book makes it a valuable resource for toxicologists requiring a general knowledge of the field."

—Richard A. Manderville, University of Guelph, Department of Chemistry, Ontario, Canada

"… comprehensive, detailed and balanced, covering major environmental hazards from the school playground to the depths of the oceans, from a glass of drinking water to the changing climate of the planet. This new edition should satisfy readers seeking background information about the dispersion of natural and anthropogenic toxicants as well as the mechanisms by which they disrupt living processes."

—Dr. Maurice Hirst, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada

"… covers a broad area of study dealing with the relationship between human health and environmental hazards. It includes a chapter on radiation. A number of case studies are also found in the book, and a whole chapter is devoted to review of each of them. … also contains a number of well-known cases of environmental disasters or episodes. Inclusion of these should enhance the interest of the readers."

—Ming-Ho Yu, Western Washington University, Bellingham

"While most textbooks in the topic of toxicology and environmental sciences provide too much detailed and exhaustive information, Ecosystems and Human Health: Toxicology and Environmental Hazards offers a fast overview and summary of the principles of toxicity of hazards and complex relationship of hazards with human health and environmental safety. …The author conveys the impact of hazards on human health by presenting numerous examples and scenarios from all over the world. The case studies based on actual occurrences not only highlight the environmental impact on human health, but also help the reader understand and apply the toxicity knowledge to the real world."

––Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management, January 2014

Table of Contents

Principles of Pharmacology and Toxicology




Some Toxicological Considerations

Mutagenesis and Carcinogenesis

DNA and Cell Repair

Fetal Toxicology

Population and Pollution

Review Questions


Further Reading

Risk Analysis and Public Perceptions of Risk: Risky Business


Assessment of Toxicity versus Risk

Predicting Risk: Workplace versus the Environment

Environmental Monitoring

Setting Safe Limits in the Workplace

Some Important Definitions

Environmental Risks: Problems with Assessment

and Public Perceptions

Some Examples of Major Industrial Accidents and Environmental Chemical Exposures with Human Health Implications

Some Legal Aspects of Risk

Statistical Problems with Risk Assessment

Risk Management

The Precautionary Principle

Review Questions


Further Reading

Case Studies 1-2

Water and Soil Pollution


Factors Affecting Toxicants in Water

Some Important Definitions

Toxicity Testing in Marine and Aquatic Species

Water Quality

Health Hazards of Pesticides and Related Chemicals

Acidity and Toxic Metals

Chemical Hazards from Waste Disposal

Toxicants in the Great Lakes: Implications for

Human Health and Wildlife

Global Warming and Water Levels in the Great Lakes

Marine Environment

Biological Hazards in Drinking Water

Walkerton Water Crisis

Review Questions



Further Reading

Airborne Hazards


Types of Air Pollution

Sources of Air Pollution

Atmospheric Distribution of Pollutants

Types of Pollutants

Health Effects of Air Pollution

Adverse Effects of Aerial Spraying

Air Pollution in the Workplace

Chemical Impact of Pollutants on the Environment

Climate Change

Natural Factors and Climate Change


Review Questions



Further Reading

Case Studies 3-8

Halogenated Hydrocarbons and Halogenated Aromatic Hydrocarbons


Early Examples of Toxicity from Halogenated Hydrocarbons

Physicochemical Characteristics and Classes of Halogenated Hydrocarbons

Review Questions


Further Reading

Case Studies 9-10

Toxicity of Metals







Other Metals

Carcinogenicity of Metals

Unusual Sources of Heavy Metal Exposure

Review Questions


Further Reading

Case Studies 11-13

Organic Solvents and Related Chemicals


Classes of Solvents

Solvent-Related Cancer in the Workplace

Factors Influencing the Risk of a Toxic Reaction

Nonoccupational Exposures to Solvents

Review Questions


Further Reading

Case Studies 14-16

Food Additives, Drug Residues, and Food Contaminants

Food Additives

Drug Residues

Hormones as Growth Promotants in Livestock

Natural Toxicants and Carcinogens in Human Foods

Herbal Remedies

Natural Carcinogens in Foods

Review Questions



Further Reading

Case Studies 17



Classes of Insecticides



Government Regulation of Pesticides

Problems Associated with Pesticides

Balancing the Risks and Benefits

Toxicity of Pesticides for Humans

Review Questions


Further Reading

Case Studies 18-19

Mycotoxins and Other Toxins from Unicellular Organisms


Some Health Problems Associated with Mycotoxins

Some Specific Mycotoxins

Economic Impact of Mycotoxins

Detoxification of Grains

Other Toxins in Unicellular Members of the Plant Kingdom

Review Questions


Further Reading

Animal and Plant Poisons


Toxic and Venomous Animals

Freshwater Algae

Toxic and Venomous Land Animals

Venomous Arthropods

Toxic Plants and Mushrooms

Review Questions


Further Reading

Case Studies 20-26

Environmental Hormone Disrupters


Lake Apopka Incident

Brief Review of the Physiology of Estrogens and Androgens

Disruption of Endocrine Function

Plastic-Associated Chemicals


Results of Human Studies on Xenoestrogens

Effects of Xenoestrogens and Phytoestrogens in Livestock and Wildlife

Problems in Interpreting and Extrapolating Results to the Human Setting

Review Questions



Further Reading

Case Study 27

Radiation Hazards


Sources and Types of Radiation

Measurement of Radiation

Some Major Nuclear Disasters of Historic and Current Importance

Radon Gas: The Natural Radiation

Tissue Sensitivity to Radiation


Cell Phone Use and Brain Tumors

Ultraviolet Radiation

Extra-Low Frequency Electromagnetic Radiation

Irradiation of Foodstuffs

Irradiation of Insect Pests

Review Questions


Further Reading

Case Study 28

Gaia and Chaos: How Things Are Connected

The Gaia Hypothesis

Chaos Theory

Other Examples of Interconnected Systems

Food Production and the Environment

The Environment and Cancer

Further Reading

Case Study Reviews


About the Author

Richard Philp, D.V.M., Ph.D., is an emeritus professor and former chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at The University of Western Ontario. He conducted research in the physiology of deep sea diving, investigations into arterial thrombosis, and, for the last 15 years of his 40-year career, taught a course on environmental toxicology. He also authored two textbooks on the subject. Professor Philp has conducted studies on heavy metal pollution of the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and was a member of the Thames-Sydenham Regional Source-water Protection Committee. He has served as a consultant in environmental toxicology to citizens’ groups and to Santa Cruz County, California. He has also published more than 100 papers in peer-reviewed journals and 6 books, mostly on environment-related subjects.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Environmental Science
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Environmental / Water Supply