Toxicology Jobs

Provides various aspects of toxicology jobs including what is toxicology, what do toxicologists do and where do they work

What is Toxicology

Toxicology is the study of toxins(poisons). Scientists study the effects of drugs, environmental contaminants, and substances found in food, water, air and soil to determine their toxicity. Applied Toxicology research can improve the health of humans, plants, animals and their environments. Toxicology research can be preventive by identifying harmful effects of new products and by communicating these impacts to regulators, manufacturers and to the public.

What Do Toxicologists Do?

Toxicologists conduct research with advanced techniques in molecular biology, analytical chemistry and biomedical sciences. Toxicologists conduct studies of specific chemicals of social and economic importance. Toxicologists assess whether particular chemicals, processes or situations pose a significant risk to human health or the environment. They may assist in setting rules and regulations to protect human health and the environment. Toxicology research has many specialties: chemical carcinogens, reproductive and developmental toxicology, neurotoxicology, immunotoxicology, inhalation toxicology, risk assessment and others. Toxicologists analyze biological and environmental samples to identify the chemical composition of narcotics, drugs, contaminants and other substances in blood, urine or other biological and environmental samples to determine the levels of concentration. This data is used to assess impairment, poisoning or adulteration. Toxicologists evaluate evidence from tampering and contamination cases. They document results, preserve evidence, and maintain chain of custody in criminal investigations. They may testify in court regarding their findings.

What do qualifications do Toxicologists need?

A Toxicologist has at least a Masters degree in chemistry, biochemistry, a biological science, or forensic science. Excellent computer and laboratory skills are critical. They need knowledge of the principles, practices and application of Toxicology, of chemical and physical laboratory equipment and material, of principles of physics and practices of physical testing, and of college level mathematics. Application of chemical, biological and physical sciences, and risk assessment models associated with exposure to toxic and hazardous substances are all necessary. They need the skills to evaluate and analyze scientific data. Toxicologists need to be capable of explaining facts, interpreting situations, or advising individuals of alternative or appropriate courses of action. Good problem solving skills applying analytical, technical, or scientific thinking. Good laboratory practice, project management skills and statistics experience are essential. Accuracy and attention to detail are crucial. Toxicologists report the results of laboratory tests to all pertinent parties. Their work environment may include exposure to physical elements or frequent exposure to health hazards. The physical demands are light with significant walking and operating standard and innovative equipment

What areas do Toxicologists cover in their courses?

Prospective toxicologists need a degree in biology or chemistry, with coursework in organic chemistry, physics, college level mathematics, including calculus. Higher level courses in biochemistry, molecular biology and physiology are encouraged. Masters and Doctoral level and Post-Doctoral studies address areas of specialization.

What areas of specialization may Toxicologists choose?

Three primary specialties are Forensic Toxicology, Environmental Toxicology and Biological Toxicology. Other pertinent fields include Teaching, Product Safety Evaluation, Public Service, Regulatory Affairs, Consulting and Research.

Where do Toxicologists work?

Toxicologists may work for governments. They may develop and enforce laws to ensure that chemicals are produced, used and disposed of safely. They may participate in defense studies. They may work in academic institutions to teach others about the safe use of chemicals and to train future toxicologists or conduct research. Some Toxicologists work for research foundations or pharmaceutical or chemical companies or private industries with consumer products.