Epidemiologic Studies of Toxic Response — Significance Requirements

  • H. Michael
  • D. Utidjian
Part of the Environmental Science Research book series (ESRH, volume 21)


The epidemiologic approach to the study of human toxic response is attractive, at first glance, for two main reasons. Firstly it circumvents the considerable ethical problems of deliberate experimental exposures of human subjects to toxic agents. It is opportunistic and seeks to utilize for study exposures and responses which are already active in a population, inadvertently as far as the investigator is concerned. Secondly, by its very essence, epidemiology studies statistically the response to exposure of relatively large numbers of individuals who, in many community-based studies, may represent a very broad cross-section of the human population with respect to age, sex, health and socio-economic status, and even, in some cosmopolitan communities, to race. Thus such studies should fundamentally accommodate one of the biggest sources of variation in quantitative toxic and therefore of individual risk, individual biological variability. As is generally well known the animal toxicologist handles this factor by exposing a substantial number of animals at each dose level and, in the case of lethality studies, generates the familiar LD50 or LC50 and employs logit and probit statistics.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Michael
    • 1
  • D. Utidjian
    • 1
  1. 1.Union Carbide CorporationNew YorkUSA

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