Toxicology and Environmental Health Information Resources: The Role of the National Library of Medicine

The environment is increasingly recognized as having a powerful effect on human and ecological health, as well as on specific types of human morbidity, mortality, and disability. While the public relies heavily on federal and state regulatory agencies for protection from exposures to hazardous substances, it often looks to health professionals for information about routes of exposure and the nature and extent of associated adverse health consequences. However, most health professionals acquire only a minimal knowledge of toxicology during their education and training. In 1967 the National Library of Medicine (NLM) created an information resource, known today as the Toxicology and Environmental Health Information Program (TEHIP). In 1995 the NLM asked the Institute of Medicine to examine the accessiblity and utility of the TEHIP databases for the work of health professionals. This resulting volume contains chapters on TEHIP and other toxicology and environmental health databases, on understanding the toxicology and environmental health information needs of health professionals, on increasing awareness of information resources through training and outreach, on accessing and navigating the TEHIP databases, and on program issues and future directions.