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Tox Town: Exploring Toxic Chemicals and Environmental Health

By NIH

Looking for information about toxic chemicals and environmental hazards that might be found in your school, home or office building? NIH's National Library of Medicine (NLM) has created a non-technical, easy-to-navigate Web site called Tox Town (http://toxtown.nlm.nih.gov/) which helps you explore potential hazards in your environment like radon, asbestos and carbon monoxide. The new Web site aims to help people make connections between chemicals, the environment and human health.

 

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Tox Town greets visitors with a friendly picture of "Hometown, USA". Users can click all around the town to find answers to their questions about environmental hazards. Someone with questions about her local river, for example, could click on the town's river and choose information on drinking water, parasitic diseases, chemicals in water, and other information provided by a variety of federal agencies. At the bottom of the screen is a list of some common environmental toxins. A high school student writing a paper about the health effects of lead could choose the "Lead" button, for example, to find out what lead and lead poisoning are, and how to prevent lead poisoning in children.

Tox Town is a companion to TOXNET (http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/), a popular set of databases for toxicologists and other scientists which NLM has provided for years. Chemical descriptions in Tox Town are based on TOXNET and are reviewed by NLM's toxicology staff. In addition to easy-to-understand descriptions of toxic chemicals and information about "everyday" locations where they can be found, the new Web site provides links to authoritative Internet resources on toxins and environmental health topics.

Tox Town's use of color, graphics, sound and animation adds special appeal. These special effects require Macromedia Flash (instructions for downloading the program for free can be found in the "Intro" section), but a text-only version is also available at http://toxtown.nlm.nih.gov/text_version/. Tox Town has resources available in Spanish as well at http://toxtown.nlm.nih.gov/espanol/index.html.

Tox Town continues to evolve with input from users and from more formal evaluations. Try it out, and send your comments to tehip@teh.nlm.nih.gov.

 

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Tox Town: Exploring Toxic Chemicals and Environmental Health:  Created on August 25th, 2007.  Last Modified on April 18th, 2010

 

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About NIH

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the primary Federal agency for conducting and supporting medical research.

The NIH provides leadership and direction to programs designed to improve the health of the Nation by conducting and supporting research in the causes, diagnosis, prevention, and cure of human diseases; in the processes of human growth and development; in the biological effects of environmental contaminants; in the understanding of mental, addictive and physical disorders; and in directing programs for the collection, dissemination, and exchange of information in medicine and health, including the development and support of medical libraries and the training of medical librarians and other health information specialists.

 

 

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