The Biological Disposition of Drugs and Inorganic Toxins

  • Ronald W. ShonkwilerEmail author
  • James Herod
Part of the Undergraduate Texts in Mathematics book series (UTM)


This chapter is a discussion of how some foreign substances get into the body, how they become distributed, what their effects are, and how they are eliminated from the body. Lead is the exemplar in the biological discussion, but the biological concepts can be applied to many other substances. The mathematical discussion focuses on lead poisoning and on pharmaceuticals. Lead can be eaten, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin; it is then distributed to other tissues by the blood. Some of it is then removed from the body by excretion and defecation. Any lead that is retained in the body can have unpleasant biological consequences—anemia and mental retardation, for instance. These processes can be understood only at the levels of organ systems and of the tissues that make up those organs. Thus this chapter includes discussions of the lungs, the digestive tract, the skin, blood, the circulatory system, bones, and the kidneys, all of which are involved in the effects of lead on humans.


Periodic Solution Digestive Tract Liquid Fraction Chest Cavity Lead Poisoning 
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References and Suggested Further Reading

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    Lead poisoning: U. Ewers and H.-W. Schlipkoter, Lead, in E. Merian, ed., Metals and Their Compounds in the Environment, VCH Publishers, New York, 1991, 971–1014.Google Scholar
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    Lead poisoning: H. A. Schroeder and I. H. Tipton, The human body burden of lead, Arch. Environ. Health, 17-6 (1968), 965–978.Google Scholar
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    Computer modeling: R. L. Borrelli, C. S. Coleman, and W. E. Boyce, Differential Equations Laboratory Workbook, Wiley, New York, 1992.zbMATHGoogle Scholar
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of MathematicsGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA

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