APES Chapter 7

acute toxicity
Adverse effects that occur within a short period after exposure to a toxicant

the buildup of a persistent toxic substance, such as certain pesticides, in an organism’s body. also called bioconcentration

biological magnification
Increasing concentration of a harmful substance (such as PCBs, heavy metals, and certain pesticides) in organisms at higher trophic levels in a food chain or food web

boomerang paradigm
“what you throw away can come back and hurt you”

chronic toxicity
adverse effects that occur after a long period of exposure to a toxicant

cost-benefit analysis
a mechanism that helps policy-makers make decisions about environmental issues. Compares estimated costs of a particular action with potential benefits that would occur if that action were implemented

dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane; a chlorine-containing organic compound that has insecticidal properties; because it is slow to degrade and therefore persists in the environment and inside organisms, this has been banned in the U.S. and many other countries

dilution paradigm
you could discard pollution into the environment and it would be diluted sufficiently to cause no harm

dose-response curve
in toxicology, shows the effect of different doses on a population of test organisms

ecological risk assessment
The process by which the ecological consequences of human activities are estimated.

the study of contaminants in the biosphere, including their harmful effects on ecosystems

endocrine disruptor
a chemical that interferes with the actions of the endocrine system (the body’s hormones). includes certain plastics such as polycarbonate; chlorine compounds such as PCBs and dioxin; the heavy metals lead and mercury; and some pesticides such as DDT, kepone, chlordane, and endosulfane

Health issues – Developing countries
cholera; HIV/AIDS; child mortality: malnutrition, lower respiratory tract infections, diarrheal diseases, and malaria

Health issues – Highly developed countries
cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

lethal dose-50% usually reported in milligrams of chemical toxicant per kilogram of body weight

life expectancy
how long people are expected to live

a characteristic of certain chemicals that are extremely stable and may take many years to be broken down into simpler forms by natural processes. Certain pesticides, for example, exhibit persistence and remain unaltered in the environment for years

precautionary principal
the policy that no action should be taken if there is any reason to think harm might be caused

risk assessment
using statistical methods to quantify the harmful effects on human health or the environment of exposure to a particular danger. they are most useful when they are compared with one another

a chemical with adverse effects on health