Toxicology is the field of biology in which undesirable effects of chemicals on living organisms are studied. This field of science studies about symptoms, mechanisms, treatments and detection of poisoning. Especially the poisoning of people is detected. There is one scientist named Mathieu Orfila who gave the formal treatment of toxicology in 1813. An earlier writer Ibn Wahshiya wrote a book "Book on Poisons". Another scientist made this statement that nothing is free of poison, only the dose is one thing which is without poison. It is of high significance in toxicology that how dose affects on a living organism. Relationship of dose and its effect is very important in toxicology. When right conditions are provided, all substances are poisonous.
There are many substances which are regarded as poisons but they affect the organism indirectly. Here is an example of wood alcohol or in other words methanol which can be converted into formaldehyde chemically in the liver. Formaldehyde causes the toxic effects of methanol exposure. In the liver, many small molecules are made toxic when the drugs are used on them. Enzymes present in the liver genetically differ from individual to individual. It is because of these enzymes that toxicity of drugs varies in different individuals. One liver enzyme induces the activity of the other liver enzyme if demands are placed. The rate of toxicity increases if molecules are combined with each other.
Like other fields of science, toxicology is also subdivided into small branches. There is one branch called toxicogenomics which applies molecular profiling approaches to the study of toxicology. There are some more branches of toxicology like chemical toxicology, environmental toxicology and medical toxicology. Chemical toxicology deals with the mechanisms and structures of chemical agents and their toxic effects. It is also concerned with research about chemical aspects of toxicology.
There is one more branch of toxicology called as aquatic toxicology. This type of toxicology studies the effects of manufactured chemicals and natural materials on aquatic organisms. This type of toxicology observes the effect of toxic substances from sub cellular to individual organism and from communities to the whole ecosystem. In western countries and in America, to save the aquatic organisms, proper tests are performed on water to check the toxic substances.
In ecotoxicology, those toxic effects are studied which are caused by natural or synthetic pollutants. There is a difference between ecotoxicology and environmental toxicology. Ecotoxicology deals with the toxic effects at all levels of biological organizations from molecular to the ecosystems. While environmental toxicology focuses only on the environmental toxic effects. The goal of ecotoxicology is to predict the toxic effects of pollution and other harmful substances from molecules to the whole ecosystems.
Toxicology is a very important field of science. It gives us information about the harmful substances and pollutants which can cause various diseases in humans. Scientists are doing research to control or eradicate such harmful substances from the environment.
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