Aging and Vulnerability to Environmental Chemicals: Age-related Disorders and Their Origins in Enviromental Exposures Editor: Bernard Weiss

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13 Dec 2012
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About this book

Many of the world's societies face an unprecedented demographic challenge. They are aging at such a rapid rate that it threatens to overwhelm their resources and economies. Of all the problems this creates, the foremost is declining health. As populations age, they place rising demands on medical care systems but no longer produce the wealth required to sustain them. Aging is not a disease. We possess no therapies for it, only for its manifestations. However, the stresses it imposes on society would be more manageable if the burden of disease and disability could be diminished. This book focuses on how chemical agents may affect the health of aging populations. Most research in this area has focussed on early development, but it is not the only life stage where responses to the adverse effects of chemicals are intensified. Vulnerability to toxins climbs again late in life and, in many ways, repeats the imperfect defences deployed by the immature organism. One feature common to both early and late phases is a reduced capacity to compensate for damage. In the first case, the functional mechanisms have yet to evolve. In the second, they have passed into a post-mature decline. The chemical revolution has flooded the world with new chemicals that penetrate every aspect of our lives. Although they bring significant benefits, they exact a heavy price. We are now exposed to thousands of chemicals whose toxic properties still elude us and whose chemical signatures can be found in our tissues. By improving our knowledge of how our contaminated environment contributes to declining health, we can act to avert further strains on our beleaguered societies. Written by experts on the environmental exposures that jeopardize optimal aging, this book serves as an excellent foundation for policy decisions. It will be read primarily by those engaged in environmental or aging research. More general readers will benefit from learning about the chemicals to avoid.

From the book series:
Issues in Toxicology

Author information

Bernard Weiss is Professor of Environmental Medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. He has been a member of the faculty there since 1965 and is also a member of its Environmental Health Sciences Center. Before coming to Rochester, Dr Weiss served on the faculty of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and, earlier, held an appointment at the U.S. Air Force School of Aviation Medicine. He has served on many committees and panels devoted to toxicology and environmental health, including those organized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Science Advisory Board, and the National Academy of Sciences. He is especially concerned with risk assessment issues arising from the effects of environmental chemicals on brain development and aging, and with the role played by gender. Bernard Weiss is the editor, or co-editor, of seven books and monographs and has contributed to over 250 articles. His special interests lie in areas that involve chemical influences on behavior. These include the neurobehavioral toxicology of metals, developmental toxicants, solvents, endocrine disruptors, and air pollutants. His current research, supported by the NIH, examine the effects of Bisphenol A on brain sexual differentiation.