Poison: A Double-Edged Civilizational Building Block. History of Toxicology and Environmental Health

  • ID: 4465290
  • Book
  • 185 Pages
  • Elsevier Science and Technology
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Poison: A Double-edged Civilizational Building Block, Volume I: Reexamining the History of Chemical and Biological Warfare (antiquity to 1899) traces the history of poison as a weapon of war, beginning at the dawn of modern humans to the 1899 Hague Peace Conference. The book analyzes the evolution of poison as a weapon, civilizations' confrontation with the dual-use nature of poison, and technological developments that enable and constrain the use of poison as a weapon. The threads intertwine at different stages in history, creating dynamic fields of tension between opportunity and prohibition of poison warfare, and between prohibition and technological progress.

This strategy explains the ongoing ambivalence towards toxins and why the norm against poison warfare remained ambiguous. This book will be of interest to researchers and students interested in toxicology and chemical and biological warfare agents, as well as policymakers, military historians and those interested in scientific history.

  • Outlines the social, political and scientific development of the concept of poison
  • Analyzes the technological developments that enable and constrain the use of poison as a weapon
  • Frames the historic and scientific reasons for classifications of chemical and biological toxins within warfare
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1. The use of poison for hunting in human evolution 2. The application of poison from the dawn of civilization until the end of Antiquity 3. The application of poison from the Middle Ages up to early Modern Times 4. The 16th to the 19th century: Opposition to poison warfare 5. The rise of chemistry as a science throughout the 19th century

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