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Fifty years ago when I started lecturing graduate students there was no comprehensive toxicology textbook, and thus one often needed many hours in the library reading the literature to prepare for a lecture. Thus, I was thrilled when Lou Casarett and John Doull decided to edit a textbook in toxicology because it would enable me to give much better lectures with much less preparation time. The textbook provided a review of the literature on each topic in toxicology written by an expert in the area.


The origin of this textbook started at NIH Toxicology Study Sections meetings in the late 1960s and early 1970s. All members of the Study Sections agreed there was a growing need for a textbook in toxicology, in fact many members of those Study Sections became authors of various chapters in the book.

At the time, Lou Casarett was a professor at the University of Hawaii and John Doull was a professor at the University of Kansas. As a result, Lou spent time in Kansas City with John selecting authors of the book, whereas John and his family spent a summer in Hawaii in finalizing the organization of the book and writing chapters for the first edition. Unfortunately, shortly thereafter and before the first edition was published, Lou died of brain cancer.

The first edition was entitled Toxicology: The Basic Science of Poisons and was published in 1975. John Doull asked Mary Amdur, a friend of Lou Casarett, and myself, a younger toxicologist at the University of Kansas, to help him edit the second edition of the textbook. Mary suggested that the names of the two first editors be added to the title of the textbook, and thus the second and all subsequent editions have been entitled Casarett and Doull’s Toxicology: The Basic Science of Poisons. The second, third, and fourth edition were edited by Doull, Amdur, and Klaassen. Mary Amdur died in 1998 and John Doull in 2017.


This ninth edition is dedicated not only to Lou Casarett, John Doull, and Mary Amdur, but all authors who have contributed to the nine editions of this book. These authors have summarized the knowledge in their area of expertise to help faculty prepare lectures as well as to help students learn the discipline. To emphasize the importance that previous authors have had on the education of toxicologists over the decades, their names are acknowledged in the chapter they previously authored.

Lou Cantilena, MD, PhD, author of the “Clinical Toxicology” chapter of this book and previous editions, was killed, along with his daughter, in an airplane accident in December 2017. Lou was piloting his daughter home for the Christmas holiday from Kansas City, where she was finishing her MD and PhD studies at the University of Kansas. Professionally, Dr. Cantilena will be remembered for his contributions to the Poison Control Centers and for treating poisoned patients, educating physicians for the military, doing clinical trials in order to discover more effective and less addicting treatments for pain, and consulting with the Food and Drug Administration on the management of drug-induced torsades de pointes. Lou’s positive attitude, enthusiasm, smile, sincerity, and devotion to his family are hallmarks of his legacy.

Curtis D. Klaassen, PhD, DABT, ATS, FAASLD

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