Chemistry

Why there are no Safe Drugs



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One important thing to remember when discussing toxicology is that nothing can be considered entirely safe. Even water can kill you in great enough amounts. It is the amount of the chemical, or dose, that is important in determining the effect on the body. Other factors to consider, in relationship to the dose, are chemical concentration, duration of the exposure, and frequency of the exposure. Obviously, the larger the amount, or dose, of a chemical, the more it will impact the body, but the chemical concentration is a big factor on how large the dose is.

Chemical concentration can be referred to as the quality or purity of the chemical. In other words, how much is diluted. The more concentrated a chemical is, the more potent and efficient it will be. The more potent and efficient a chemical is, the smaller the dose required to get the desired effect.

The duration of the exposure to a chemical is an important factor to consider when contemplating the effect. Sometimes we are concerned with acute exposure, or a one-time short-term event. Depending on the toxin, we may or may not be concerned with this type of exposure. The longer someone is exposed to a chemical, the more it will build up in the body, and the more potential it has to cause harm.

The frequency of the exposure, or the number of exposures during a specific time frame, can be more significant than duration or quantity in some situations. Repeated exposure, especially to chemicals with a small dose-time relationship, causes it to build up in the body. The dose time relationship refers to the amount of the chemical in the body, how long it takes to be expelled from the body, and the observed effects.

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