Recommended

MedlinePlus – Poisoning, Toxicology, Environmental Health

MedlinePlus - Poisoning, Toxicology, Environmental Health is an important & comprehensive collection of information about environmental exposure to poisons, toxins, infectious diseases, and other environmental hazards. The section includes a medical encyclopedia and links to a variety outside resources with detailed information about treatment & prevention of various poisonings & toxic exposures, including bio-terrorism, and environmental issues, including pollution, secondhand smoke, safe drinking water, and electromagnetic fields. This MedlinePlus section is highly recommended for information provided by some of the most authoritative and reputable sources in the medical field.

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Review Date: 4/15/2019

Scoring

Ease of Use

The section has intuitive navigation by A-Z topic list. Each listed topic leads to a page with a brief summary of the hazard and numerous links to additional information. There are also right-hand lists that allow access to the medical encyclopedia and other topics related to the exposure. Because the unique nature of MedlinePlus, with its many links to outside resources, users must constantly jump from this site to others and then back again; the resulting navigation can be tedious.

Visual Design

The home page is unremarkable with only a simple list of topics, without any images or other infographics to appeal to users.

Quality

Users will appreciate the comprehensive and detailed information about environmental hazards. Inconsistent referencing make the reliability of each MedlinePlus page for each substance variable. Topics found in the medical encyclopedia are well referenced, while this is inconsistent for toxin summaries and information from linked sites. However, most links go to respected federal or specialty organization sites.

Credibility

MedlinePlus clearly identifies the organizations responsible for the content, which include the Environmental Protection Agency, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Association of Poison Control Centers, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, and National Institutes of Health. Users will find that the medical encyclopedia topics have the highest reliability by listing reviewers and date of last review. Although MedlinePlus does a great job updating it's pages regularly, the currency of linked sites varies, and individual authors/editors of each topic page are not identified & only occasionally credited on the linked sites.

Pros

  1. Extensive Medical Encyclopedia with information about and related to environmental exposure to poisons, toxins, infectious diseases, and other environmental hazards
  2. Multiple links to reliable and up-to-date information about treatment & prevention of various poisoning, toxic exposures, and infectious disease and environmental issues, including pollution, secondhand smoke, safe drinking water, and electromagnetic fields
  3. Highly credible website with backing from the U.S. government and supplemented with materials generated by authoritative organizations

Cons

  1. User-friendliness of materials vary depending on the external website referenced
  2. Users will have to spend significant time navigating and reading in order to get helpful information

Profile

Sponsors / Affiliations: The U.S. National Library of Medicine, The National Institutes of Health

Accreditations: None

Additional Features: Patient handouts, videos, images, relevant journal articles, specialist finder, links to research, health check tools, clinical trials

Languages: English, Spanish

Contact: custserv@nlm.nih.gov

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