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The Poison Paradox: Chemicals as Friends and Foes

7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199548163
ISBN-10: 0199548161
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Editorial Reviews


`Review from previous edition Compelling... Skip your high-production-value crime drama on the television tonight, and spend the evening with the Poison Paradox.' Wendy Sharpe, The Lancet

`Accessible to a wide readership.' Merlin Fox, Chemistry World

`A useful introduction.' Susan Aldridge, BBC Focus

`An excellent new book.' Mark Henderson, The Times

About the Author

John Timbrell is Professor of Biochemical Toxicology in the Department of Pharmacy, King's College, London.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (November 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199548161
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199548163
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.7 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,185,785 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By tanya dekleva on November 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book because I am interested in science and especially in chemistry. I wasn't disappointed because I found it real fascinating. I like the way its full of fascinating stories about poisoning but also theres lots of interesting information about chemicals. So its the kind of book you can just pick up and read a section of, sort of dip into. At the beginning theres a chapter on how chemicals get inside us and what happens to them. Then there are chapters on drugs, pesticides, chemicals in factories, at home, chemicals in food and so on. And at the end theres a chapter on assessment of risks from chemicals. It shows that chemicals are not all bad.I reckon everyone whose interested in chemicals should get this book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Gary Neilson on December 1, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book because it is fascinating if you read it objectively because it is well balanced and well referenced and documented. It contains lots of interesting nuggets of information and these crop up all the way through. It shows that all chemicals are potentially poisonous but most can be safely used if used properly. So the book counters some of the doom sayers and scare stories and sets the record straight on things like DDT. Timbrell points out that the risks have to be weighed against the benefits (as with DDT and drugs).

I found it a thought provoking book and readable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By monica on October 15, 2012
Format: Paperback
4 1/2 stars. This is an exemplary science book for the general reader and is more absorbing than many and many a novel.

The first few chapters are background ones covering poisons, medicines, and the actions of chemicals upon the body. The last of these especially was exciting for me: heretofore my eyes would have skimmed over any sentence containing 'metabolite' or 'induction of enzymes', but Trimball's presentation is so outstandingly good that I understood and learned rather than simply shoving necessary definitions into my short-term memory.

The bulk of Poison Paradox is devoted to different sorts of chemicals that might do us harm--those occurring naturally, pesticides, industrial poisons, murder weapons--and their effects on the body. From the action of a chemical and the body's reactions to and defenses against it and carrying on to overt symptoms of poisoning, these effects are explained thoroughtly and intelligibly, with the aid of very helpful illustrations, cross-references, and case histories.

Not surprisingly, there's some gee-whiz stuff here as well: A stiff gin is an antidote to a form of alcohol poisoning. There was a time when to eat green blancmange was to ingest a dose of arsenic, though presumably only colour-blind diners with undeveloped palates suffered the consequences. Oxygen can be toxic. And I'll never again knowingly eat an organically grown peanut.

A couple of very slight flaws were for me a glossary that could have been improved upon and a tendency here and there to unnecessary repetition. (A pronounced tendency in the case of Paracelsus's dictum, in fact.)

Timbrell is a professor of biochemical toxicology, and his students must consider themselves lucky: Someone who can spark an interest in and a delight in learning about biochemistry in me must be a very fine teacher indeed.
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By Nick Lawrence on June 7, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Toxicology for the man / woman in the street. A really interesting chemical adventure. Not for the faint-hearted! Buying recommended.
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