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'Toxic' and 'Nontoxic': confirming critical terminology concepts and context for clear communication.
Hoover-MD; Cash-LJ; Mathews-SM; Feitshans-IL; Iskander-J; Harper-SL
Encyclopedia of toxicology, third edition. Wexler P, ed. San Diego, CA: Academic Press, 2014 Mar; 4:610-616
If 'the dose makes the poison' and if risk is a function of both hazard and exposure, then what is 'toxic' and what is 'nontoxic'? Do these and other critical terminology concepts have universal meanings in all contexts? The simple answer is 'no, the concepts can differ by their context'. In an individual health-related example, drinking too little water can lead to death by dehydration, while drinking too much water can lead to overhydration and death by dilution of the body's electrolytes. In a public safety-related example, the process of protecting individuals from risks of drowning involves different assessment and management of the potential exposure of people to water. Thus, our ability to understand and manage risks to our health, safety, well-being, and productivity is shaped by our ability to effectively understand and manage the toxicologically relevant properties of the hazard along with the context and magnitude of the associated exposure.
Toxins; Hazards; Exposure-levels; Education; Toxicology; Risk-analysis; Author Keywords: Anticipate, Recognize, Evaluate, Control, and Confirm (ARECC); Clear communication; Context; Continuous improvement; Decision-making flaws; Know vs show; Perception vs reality; Planning matrix; Relevance vs reliability
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
Encyclopedia of toxicology, third edition
Page last reviewed: April 12, 2019
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division