Book: The Poison Paradox: Chemicals As Friends and Foes
Publisher: Oxford University Press
To appreciate the dangers and the risks from chemicals of all kinds it is
necessary to understand how, when and why they are toxic. This falls
within the field of toxicology and is what this book is all about.
I was encouraged to write the book by Dr John Emsley, who is well
known for his popular science books on the chemical sciences. He had
reviewed my introductory textbook on toxicology and suggested it might
be the basis for a popular science book written for the general public. That
is what I have tried to produce.
I have approached the task of writing this book by using examples
known to me through my teaching and research. The examples have been
chosen to illustrate particular points and principles or because they are, I
think, interesting stories.
However, the book is not one to consult for a review of the hazards of a
particular drug or pesticide or industrial chemical. Such a book, covering
all of the possible chemicals to which we might be exposed would be a
reference text in many volumes and would be a lifetime’s work to produce
and yet probably out of date when it arrived!
This book is also not yet another attempt to worry people unnecessarily
about the potential chemical dangers around them, but neither will it
suggest that every chemical is perfectly safe.
I hope by the end of this book that you, the reader, will have a better
understanding of these things and so can more easily appreciate the often
conflicting and unsettling information with which we are all increasingly
assailed. It is my belief that members of the public need objective, scientific
information in order to make up their own minds and balance the
risks with the benefits.