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Hazards & Safety

Environmental Contaminants Encyclopedia

Contents, Format


This document is designed as a tool which can be used to quickly ascertain general information about the 118 elements, compounds, and products listed in Entries, Filenames. It is also a quick reference in helping one decide whether or not concentrations are above levels which might cause impacts upon living things.

Information in the Environmental Contaminants Encyclopedia was taken from the following sources:

  • books
  • journal articles
  • government documents
  • electronic databases (e.g. Hazardous Substances Data Bank from the National Library of Medicine)
  • personal communications
References are documented as numbers within brackets, using the format of the Journal of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, with all references listed in numerical order in a separate file labeled "REFERENC" (REFERENC.pdf). This file can be downloaded from the Encylcopedia Listing page."

An attempt was made to summarize information helpful in interpreting residue data from the following media:

  1. Water
  2. Sediments
  3. Soil
  4. Tissues
This emphasis can be seen in the overall organization of the information presented. Often what a specialist first needs to know is whether or not certain chemical concentrations are normal, high, or exceeding some benchmark (such as regulatory standards or criteria). Therefore, the "backbone" of the Environmental Contaminants Encyclopedia emphasizes concentration data:
  1. low, typical and high environmental concentrations found in other parts of the country and world, and
  2. concentrations that are toxic to various organisms, and
  3. standards, criteria, and other benchmark values.
Many types of information other than environmental, regulatory, and toxic concentrations are also in the Encyclopedia, including brief sections at the beginning of each entry which give general overviews on the compound, its hazards, its more dangerous toxic effects (carcinogenic, developmental, reproductive, endocrine, genotoxic), and its environmental fate. (NOTE: the user may want to start reading these sections first, since many "bottom line" summaries are in these "Brief" sections.) Whenever possible, "plain-language" summaries and explanations were used in introductory sections.

Included is important summary information (such as government grey literature and personal communications) that is otherwise difficult to find via searches of electronic or peer reviewed sources.

update on 12/11/2003  I   http://www1.nature.nps.gov/hazardssafety/toxic/content.cfm   I  Email: Contact Us
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