Dr. Benitez Question and Answer Session on Fly Ash Spill


What is medical toxicology? And, approximately how many toxicologists are there in the United States?

Well, medical toxicology is the specialty of, the physician specialty in toxicology. Toxicology itself deals with how toxic substances are in different types of substances, by that I’m including things like snake venoms, spiders, medications, chemicals - anything. And so we deal with assessing a patient. We’re looking at, getting history, doing physical examinations, doing laboratory evaluations, and then trying to put it all together… to [see] was it causing a problem, treating them, and discussing that, obviously, with other specialists as necessary. So that’s what the specialty is. And there’s roughly, three- [or] four-hundred of us in the country, so there’s not a humungous amount. In Tennessee we have three, which is kind of nice compared to some states that don’t have any.