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Florida-Agriculture.com
Division of Marketing and Development
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Mayo Building, M-9
407 South Calhoun Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0800
(850) 617-7300

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Adam H. Putnam, Commissioner

Toxicologist

Toxicologists study the effects of potentially harmful chemicals on people, animals, and the environment. They use their knowledge of biology, chemistry, and the environment to devise strategies to reduce or control exposure to these chemicals.

Colleges and universities, government agencies, and industries employ toxicologists. Toxicologists who work for colleges or universities conduct research and teach. Those employed by the government or industry make sure that chemicals we use are safe and effective. Veterinarians trained in toxicology work in animal health diagnostic laboratories, while physicians and pharmacists with toxicology training work in human hospitals or poison control centers.

To be a toxicologist you need at least two years of study beyond a bachelor of science or medical degree (DVM or M.D.). Most toxicologists have doctoral degrees. Some earn undergraduate degrees in biology, chemistry, or environmental science. Others graduate with degrees in veterinary medicine, human medicine, or pharmacy. Graduate training in toxicology includes course work in pharmacology, biochemistry, analytical chemistry, and environmental science, as well as toxicology.

In high school, you should take as much biology, chemistry, mathematics, and environmental science as possible. Also, you should develop strong writing, communication, and computer skills.

-- Robert H. Poppenga, Michigan State University

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