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Glossary

Toxicity

Toxicity is a substance property. Just how strong the toxic effect of a substance is on an organism does not only depend on its toxicity, but also crucially on the dosage and the type of intake (incorporation) of the substance. Depending on whether the poison is inhaled (via the respiratory tract), is taken in dermally (by skin contact) or even intravenously, intramuscularly or intraperitoneally (through the abdominal cavity), the poisoning generally takes a different course. Thus, the complex substance property “toxicity” has both a qualitative and a quantitative component: while the latter describes the toxic potency of the substance, the former refers to aspects such as the mode of action, the organ reference, etc.