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The world today presents millions and millions of different hazardous materials that obviously harms the human bodies, animals, and the environment. And, the specialist who is concerned over this issue is called the toxicologist.

Toxicology is just one of the many branches of the science of chemistry, biology, and medicine. Basically, this term originated from two separate Greek words: "toxicos", which means "poisonous", and "logia" or "the study of". And, the person who dedicates him or herself to this scientific field is called a toxicologist.

Toxicologists are medical specialists whose forte is to examine the symptoms that are brought about by the exposure of a person to harmful elements. In addition, they also study the action of the toxic waste on the body. Their role is to identify the presence of the poison on the body and to find and provide treatment for this toxin.

Types of Patients
Among the most common harmful agents that affect the body are the drugs that are used to treat diseases. The job of clinical toxicologist involves identifying the detrimental influences of these marketed medications to a person's body. Furthermore, they must find the antidote for the effects of these medications and it is their responsibility to spell out the ways in preventing drug toxicity.

Toxicologists treat patients who are badly affected by chemicals that are taken in through inhalation, ingestion, and even through skin penetration. These medical specialists are also concerned over the management of poisoning since it is one of the most common causes of hospital admissions today.

There are just too many types of agents that are considered as poison to the human body. However, the most common of all is the drug that are bought over-the-counter or those prescribed by physicians for a certain type of condition. Some of the drugs that bring about poisoning are: salicylate (drug for inflammation and body aches), tricyclic antidepressant (treatment for a psychological condition known as depression), paracetamol (a common medication for pain and fever), and phenothiazine (prescribed drug for mental and emotional disorders).

How to Choose
The service of a toxicologist is very much relevant in situations wherein toxic chemicals are involved. However, getting a skilled medical expert on this field would be difficult if a person does not know how to look into the credentials of a candidate.

Possessing a license is not enough to call a person an absolute expert in the field of toxicology. Of course, one must look into his or her certifications in order to conclude that the said professional is truly dedicated to his or her chosen profession.

In the United States, toxicologists can aim to take and pass the exam that is administered by the non-profit firm known as the American Board of Toxicology. The examinee must pass the three parts of the examination with the topics of: toxicity of agents, general principles of toxicology, and the effects of harmful elements to each organ system. By passing the exam, the examinee would receive the board certification and he or she would also be considered as a Diplomat of the American Board of Toxicology.

Aside from the skills expected from a toxicologist, he or she must also have certain traits that can allow him or her to work competently in this field. Some of these personal qualities are: good interpersonal skills, ability to work with a team, persistent, honest, adaptable, and ethical.

Toxicologist doctors by state: