The primary target audience is educators, students middle school level and above, and the general public. Tox Town can be used for enrichment of regular curriculum or for homework help and projects.
Tox Town introduces users to toxic chemicals and environmental health risks encountered in every day life. There are five “scenes” to choose from – town, city, US-Mexico border, farm, or port.
First, the scene includes information on toxic chemicals that you might encounter in everyday places (you can see some of the chemicals listed across the bottom). Second, it features locations in a town that might be associated with environmental health concerns. When you go to the town, you can click on either locations or chemicals. Every location is paired with a page of Internet resources about the environmental health concerns that might be found there. For example, click on the Factory to display links to information that might be of interest in an industrial setting. If we had sound here, by the way, you’d hear a factory whistle blow when you move your mouse over the factory, and there are many other sounds as well.
Notice that there are several ways to navigate your way through the City. You can click on several of the locations within the city scene such as the school or factory, or you can click on the name of a location or chemical at the bottom of the screen to see where it might appear in the environment. There is also sound as you hover over different elements on the screen. The sound can be turned off if preferred. The menu on the right-hand side offers several choices of information to explore related to “Pests”. The City repeats some of the same environmental concerns seen in the Town, like drinking water, but has new locations like brownfields, construction, and air travel.
Some of the locations that are unique to the Farm scene are: urban sprawl, logging, barns and silos, and large scale animal feeding operations. Again some of the same environmental concerns like outdoor air and drinking water are repeated.
New locations in this scene include: auto shop; trash burning; illegal tire dumps; factories along the border called maquiladoras; and colonias – housing developments that lack city services.
These are just some of the health concerns addressed in Tox Town.
Currently, there are over 30 chemicals.
This is an example of a real life situation where mercury was taken from a Washington, DC school science lab. This was all over the news last year.
Tox Town provides unbiased, authoritative information with appropriate reading levels for middle school and high school students.
When you can point the mouse to Mercury, Tox Town displays labels showing where mercury might be found. A one line description of mercury is also given.
When you click on Mercury – you will see a page of links arranged from easier to more difficult materials.
Users can look at “What is Mercury” to get basic information and a description of mercury.
You can also click on the Mercury page from Medline Plus. Medline Plus is a great compilation of consumer level materials. Medline Plus, from NLM, has about 700 health topic pages in English and Spanish. About 40 are on environmental health concerns.
More examples of Mercury information from EPA, Purdue University.
When you roll over Mercury on the chemical list, Tox Town shows where one can find mercury in the town. The school is labelled so you can click on mercury and see where it might be found – in science lab, possibly as contaminant in drinking water. On this inside view of school, you can scroll over a chemical on this list as its possible location will be shown by the blinking red bull’s eye.
Resources are also available in Spanish.
At this point, I thought it might be fun to pass out some questions. Your task will be to use Tox Town to find the answers. We can then share our search results.
Tox Town introduces • Environmental health concerns • Toxic chemicals and other substancesTo • Students • Teachers • Interested public
Environmental Health Concerns in Tox TownAir Pollution Insect Bites and StingsChild Safety MoldsDrinking Water NoiseErgonomics Occupational HealthFire Safety Pfiesteria InfectionsFarm Safety PoisoningFood Safety Radiation ExposureHeat Illness RadonHousehold Poisons Secondhand SmokeHypothermia Sun ExposureIndoor Air Quality Water Safety - Recreational And many, many more!
Chemicals in Tox TownArsenic OzoneAsbestos Particulate MatterBenzene PesticidesCarbon Monoxide PhthalatesChromium RadonLead Sulfur DioxideMercury TolueneNitrogen Oxides Volatile Organic Compounds And many, many more!
Ballou High School Washington Post headlines • Mercury Is Stolen, Spread at Ballou High [Oct 2] • Ballou May Be Shut for Month • Ballou Plans Screenings for Mercury • Mercury Found on More Ballou Clothing • Student’s Home Has Excessive Mercury Levels • Delayed 911 Call, Lack of Information Hurt Effort at Ballou High • Certified Free of Mercury, Ballou High to Reopen [Nov 5, 2003]
What if this happened at your school?You’ll need info that is – Unbiased – Authoritative and science-based – Available on the Internet for rapid distribution – Introductory-to-comprehensive in scope – Available in a range of reading levels and science literacy levels
Contact info email@example.comSpecialized Information Services DivisionNational Library of MedicineNational Institutes of Health2 Democracy Plaza, Suite 510 67076707 Democracy Blvd.Bethesda, MD 20892-5467