Study of poisons and their effects, particularly on living systems. It overlaps with biochemistry, histology, pharmacology, pathology, and other fields. Its functions have expanded from identifying poisons and searching for treatments to include forensic toxicology (see forensic medicine) and testing and detection of a fast-growing number of new potentially toxic substances used in workplaces, in agriculture (e.g., insecticides, other pesticides, fertilizers), in cosmetics, as food additives, and as drugs (see drug poisoning). Perhaps the area of largest expansion is the study of toxic waste in the air, water, and soil, including chlorofluorocarbons, acid rain, dioxin, and radioactive isotopes.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.For the full entry on toxicology, visit Britannica.com.
What made you look up toxicology? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.
Take Our 10-Question Quiz
The commonly misspelled words quiz
A quick quiz about stuff worth knowing
How strong is your vocabulary?
The Vocab Quiz Game for iPhone & iPad
"Incredibly fun and addictive. And informative!" User Review, iTunes