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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1990 Oct;87(19):7782-6.

Nature's chemicals and synthetic chemicals: comparative toxicology.

Author information

1
Division of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of California, Berkeley 94720.

Abstract

The toxicology of synthetic chemicals is compared to that of natural chemicals, which represent the vast bulk of the chemicals to which humans are exposed. It is argued that animals have a broad array of inducible general defenses to combat the changing array of toxic chemicals in plant food (nature's pesticides) and that these defenses are effective against both natural and synthetic toxins. Synthetic toxins such as dioxin are compared to natural chemicals, such as indole carbinol (in broccoli) and ethanol. Trade-offs between synthetic and natural pesticides are discussed. The finding that in high-dose tests, a high proportion of both natural and synthetic chemicals are carcinogens, mutagens, teratogens, and clastogens (30-50% for each group) undermines current regulatory efforts to protect public health from synthetic chemicals based on these tests.

PMID:
2217211
PMCID:
PMC54832
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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