Each day we are exposed to a myriad of natural and human-made chemicals in our food, drinking water, air, soil, at home or at the workplace—pesticide residues, food additives, drugs, household products—but how can we gauge the human health risk posed by these chemicals? Should we believe the somber headlines that depict a serious threat for humans and the environment, or should we follow the reassuring voices of others who claim that the angst is totally unfounded?

Why the Dose Matters: Assessing the Health Risk of Exposure to Toxicants uses a rational, science-based approach to explain in plain language that a quantitative view is key for understanding and predicting potentially toxic effects of chemicals.

Key Features:

  • Explains the basics of toxicology in easily understandable terms.
  • Includes numerous examples.
  • Clears up common misconceptions and dispels myths.
  • Provides take-home messages for each chapter.

This book is aimed at interested laypeople. It uses numerous examples to illustrate the basic concepts and ensure that the reader will get a better understanding of why not only the hazard but also the overall exposure will determine whether some chemicals pose a serious risk while others are of little or negligible concern.

chapter 1|4 pages


part I|84 pages

The Concepts

chapter 62|8 pages

What Does “Toxic” Mean?

chapter 3|8 pages

Paracelsus Reloaded

The Dose Concept

chapter 4|10 pages


The Key Determinant in Risk Assessment

chapter 5|10 pages

Natural and Synthetic Chemicals

chapter 6|12 pages

What Our Body Does to a Chemical

chapter 7|14 pages

What a Chemical Does to Our Body

chapter 8|10 pages

Defense Shields

chapter 9|10 pages

Correlation and Causality

part II|54 pages

The Chemicals

chapter 9010|10 pages


Killers with a License

chapter 11|12 pages

Toxic Food

chapter 12|6 pages

Dietary Supplements

The More the Better?

chapter 13|12 pages

Significant Chemical Risks

Persistent and Widespread

chapter 14|12 pages


part III|52 pages

The Risk

chapter 14415|14 pages

Safety Assessment

chapter 16|10 pages

Acceptable Limits, Tolerance, and Red Lines

chapter 17|14 pages

Risk Assessment

chapter 18|6 pages

Gauging the Risk Against the Benefit

chapter 19|6 pages

Risk Communication

part IV|12 pages

The Future

chapter 19620|6 pages

Toxicological Challenges

chapter 21|4 pages

Conclusions and Outlook