Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Poisoning, Toxicology and Treatment of Non-pharmacological Agents

UM LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course



DEPARTMENT Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics

DESCRIPTION This study-unit provides the skills in managing patients with poisoning by non-pharmaceuticals. It will provide an overview of occupational, environmental, animal and plant toxins.

Aspects of poisoning with these agents (such as respiratory sensitizers, immunotoxicity and skin toxicity) are also reviewed. and management will be discussed with the use of occupationally and environmentally relevant chemicals (e.g. metals, pesticides, insecticides). There will also be an overview of toxicity associated with warfare and terrorism (including radiological emergencies). The role of monitoring and epidemiology studies and how these data are used to set effective exposure limits will be described, together with an overview of the role of international agencies.

Study-unit Aims:

The study-unit aims to:
- To outline and describe potential health effects caused by occupational toxicants, environmental pollutants and natural toxins;
- To review potential risks for humans from occupational toxicants, environmental pollutants and natural toxins;
- To review toxicity associated with warfare and terrorism (including radiological emergencies);
- To apply this knowledge in preventive measures and regulatory decisions in these sectors, while investigating the role of international regulatory agencies.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Define the principles of biological monitoring in Environmental and Industrial Toxicology;
- Outline the features of poisoning and adverse effects caused by animal and plant toxins;
- Identify adverse effects caused by occupational chemicals such as pesticides, household products, solvents and gases, carbon monoxide; corrosive substances, cleaning substances and bleaching agents
- Critically evaluate the toxicology of contamination in the environment;
- Identify adverse effects associated with warfare and terrorism (including radiological emergencies);
- Outline the occupational dangers of heavy metals and the treatment of poisoning from these elements.

2. Skills
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Plan management in cases of environmental, chemical and occupational toxicity;
- Interpret data related to toxicological risks in the workplace and design strategies for prevention of toxicity;
- Plan for possible toxicity associated with warfare and terrorism (including radiological emergencies);
- Explain the roles of the key regional, national and international bodies responsible for drug regulation, drug safety, chemical safety and chemical incidents;
- Translate this knowledge in investigating the toxicological, environmental health and public health dimensions of a major chemical incident.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main readings

- Curtis Klaassen, John Watkins. Casarett & Doull's Essentials of Toxicology, Third Edition. 2015. McGraw Hill ISBN 978-0071847087
- Tõnu Püssa Principles of Food Toxicology Hardcover.2013 CRC Press ISBN 978-1466504103
- Torres, Jose, Bobst, Sol Toxicological Risk Assessment for Beginners 2015 Springer ISBN 978-3-319-12751-4
- Gunnar F. Nordberg Bruce A. Fowler, Monica Nordberg. Handbook on the Toxicology of Metals: 2014 Academic Press ISBN 978-0444594532.

Supplementary readings

- Lewis Nelson, Robert Hoffman, Mary Ann Howland, Neal Lewin), Lewis Goldfrank, Silas W Smith Goldfrank's toxicologic emergencies. 11th edition New York McGraw Hill Medical 2019 ISBN 978-1259859618 (Health Sciences Library Reference RA1224.5 .G6 2019 )
- Ira S Richards Marie Bourgeois. Principles and Practice of Toxicology in Public Health - 2nd edition 2014 Jones and Bartlett Publishers ISBN 9781449645267
- Pritam S. Sahota, Robert H. Spaet, Philip Bentley, Zbigniew Wojcinski The Illustrated Dictionary of Toxicologic Pathology and Safety Science 2019 CRC Press ISBN 978-1498754712
- Barry Levine Principles of Forensic Toxicology, 5th edition 2020. Springer ISBN 978-3030429164
- Stephen M. Roberts, Robert C. James, Phillip L. Williams. Principles of Toxicology Environmental and Industrial Applications. 2015 Wiley Interscience ISBN 978-0470907917.

Journals (available in Main Library and Health Sciences Library and as e-journals subscribed by UM)

Environmental toxicology
Journal of toxicology.
Comments on toxicology
Archives of toxicology
Critical reviews in toxicology
Toxicology mechanisms and methods
Food and chemical toxicology
Toxicology and applied pharmacology
Environmental toxicology and pharmacology
Chemical research in toxicology
Forensic toxicology.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Independent Study

Assessment Component/s Sept. Asst Session Weighting
Presentation (20 Minutes) Yes 20%
Assignment Yes 80%

LECTURER/S Dabor Resiere
Mario Abela
Regis Bedry
Noel Aquilina
Jeffrey Bonnici
Joseph Buhagiar
Robert Chircop
Davide Lonati
David Mifsud
Janet Mifsud
Noel Vella


The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2023/4. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.