Toxic substances are everywhere. The body is not only
exposed to toxic chemicals in the environment, but also some toxins
are produced in the body
body chemical reactions.
How can our bodies cope?
This module explains some of the ways that animals and humans combat and eliminate toxic chemicals.
The organ systems involved include the lungs, the skin, and the digestive
tract, but two organs are especially important: the liver and the kidneys.
We call the process of eliminating toxins, "detoxication"
or "detoxification," which
is the opposite of "intoxication." Different tissues detoxify in
- Lungs can detoxify by
removing gases (gas anesthetics
are removed from the body by the lungs).
Skin can detoxify by reducing the penetration of toxic substances (toxins
in water don't get in through the skin well; however, toxins in oils do penetrate easily).
- Digestive System can detoxify by eliminating
toxic foods, by either vomiting or diarrhea.
- Kidneys detoxify by secreting toxins or filtering toxins out of the blood into
- Liver detoxifies by changing the chemical nature of
Kidney and liver are especially important. They are
discussed separately because they work in different ways.
Upon completing this unit, the student should be
- Explain why detoxication systems are needed in
- Identify the systems in the body that have
detoxication functions and summarize how they perform their
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