inform about harmful effects caused by manmade chemicals
to the natural environment, especially effects on populations,
communities, and ecosystems, here in particular the movement
of potentially toxic substances through food webs and through
the water cycle, etc.
Ecotoxicology is the study of the effects of anthropogenically
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derived contaminants on individual organisms, species
Physician Paracelsus said in the early 1500's 'The poison
is in the dose'. The study of ecotoxicity if further complicated
by various synergistic and antagonistic effects of mixtures
of organic contaminants and heavy metals in environmental
media on a site and species specific basis.
Guidelines for assessing threshold levels of different
chemicals in different environmental media and ecosystem
types have been developed by countries and international
organisations. Similarly numerous tools for assessing
the ecotoxicity of soils, sediments and water are both commercially
available and in the development phase.