Kamrin, Michael A. Department of Pathology, Center for Environmental Toxicology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan.
Leader, Robert W. Department of Pathology, Center for Environmental Toxicology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan.
Last reviewed:October 2019
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- Factors that influence toxicity
- Classes of toxicity
- Toxicology of metals
- Other metals
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The study of the adverse effects of chemical and physical agents on living organisms. Toxicology has been referred to as the science of poisons (substances that by chemical action and at low dosage can kill or injure living organisms) and toxins (poisonous proteins, especially those of bacterial origin). The nature, effects, and detection of these substances, as well as methods of treatment, are key areas studied by toxicologists. Since the latter half of the twentieth century, there has been a substantial increase in the understanding of biological systems and the way in which chemicals can interfere with the proper functioning of such systems (Fig. 1). At the same time, there has been a tremendous increase in the number and volume of chemicals that are in everyday use. Therefore, despite intensive research efforts, knowledge of fundamental toxicological principles and the specific effects of many individual compounds is incomplete. See also: Behavioral toxicology; Environmental toxicology; Forensic toxicology; Poison; Toxin
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