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Pure Appl. Chem., 2006, Vol. 78, No. 11, pp. 2043-2050

Toxicology and the environment: An IUPAC teaching program for chemists

John H. Duffus1 and Howard G. J. Worth2

1 The Edinburgh Centre for Toxicology, 43 Mansionhouse Road, Edinburgh,EH9 2JD, UK
2 1 Park Court, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, NG18 2AX, UK

Abstract: Increasingly, chemists are faced with legislation requiring assessment of hazard and risk associated with the production, use, and disposal of chemicals. In addition, the general public are concerned about the dangers that they hear may result from the widespread use of chemicals. They look to the chemist for explanations and assume that chemists understand such matters. When they discover that chemists are often ignorant of the potential of chemicals to cause harm, their confidence in the profession is lost and chemophobia may result. In 1993, IUPAC agreed on a joint project between the Toxicology Commission and the Committee on Teaching of Chemistry to address the issue of the teaching of toxicology in the chemistry curriculum. Part of the project was a distance learning program, which is available through the Internet and on CD.1 The program currently consists of seven modules, one of which deals specifically with environmental toxicology. The contents of each unit will be explained as each has some input into environmental matters and green/sustainable chemistry. The program is aimed at teacher and student alike, and each module has self-assessment exercises at the end of the module. Additionally, there is material on health and safety, ethical matters, and a case study of the use of dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT).