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Essentials Of Toxicology For Public Health Protection (Module)

Module description

The aims of this short (1 week full time)  course are to summarise the key concepts in toxicology, exposure assessment and toxicological risk assessment and to examine the scope and uses of toxicology in local agency response to public health and health protection issues. The course will show the strengths and limitations of the information available on many chemicals or chemical cocktails. The discussion of practical health protection examples of toxicological incidents would illustrate the advantages and difficulties of multidisciplinary and multi-agency working in toxicology and the potential for use and development of strategies for investigating and managing toxicological hazards.

The module aims to develop competencies associated with the discipline of toxicology for environmental public health (Spiby J. ChaP Report, February 2005:57-58).

The module will provide an academically validated MSc level course which may be taken by MPH students as part of, or in addition to, their degree studies, or as a free standing module, for example by staff of the Public Health England and other local and national public health agencies as part of their Continuing Professional Development programmes. For such ‘outside’ students, CPD certificates will be issued  or delegates may register as a student at King’s College London and, with additional reading and self study,  later submit an essay and take an examination to qualify for the award of  academic credit.

At the end of this module and associated reading students will: 

  • understand basic  terminology and concepts;
  • understand basic principles of toxicology, including hazard, risk, route of exposure, dose duration and dose response, susceptibility, metabolism, target organs, excretion and differential diagnosis;
  • understand biological sampling methods, biomarkers and their uses and limitations;
  • be able to explain toxicokinetics and toxicodynamics;
  • understand mutagenicity, carcinogenicity and reproductive toxicity.
  • be able to explain the toxicology of the major systems: renal, respiratory, skin, liver, CNS;
  • be able to explain removal from exposure, decontamination and the principles of evacuation and shelter;
  • understand antidote availability, their limitations, the role of symptomatic and supportive care;
  • be aware of the sources of toxicological information, how to access and use them and their limitations;
  • be aware of national and international organizations and their role in service provision;
  • understand the use of toxicological data in health and environmental standard setting;
  • be aware of the limitations of data on many chemicals, chemical cocktails and interactions;


  • be able to integrate the above in analyzing and reporting upon an incident, evaluating and interpreting the toxicological evidence base of the reported health effects, planning a risk assessment, and develop appropriate intervention strategies, and the development of health protection advice.  

Staff information

Not applicable

Teaching pattern

Lectures and seminars

Module assessment - more information

Not applicable

Key information

Module code 7BRPH012

Credit level 7

Assessment coursework written examination/s

Credit value 15

Semester Semester 2 (spring)

Study abroad module No