What is toxicology?

The fundamental purpose of toxicology is to help avoid chemical injury, or manage the accidental exposure of humans and the environment. Toxicologists combine elements of many scientific disciplines and apply modern molecular, genetic, and analytical techniques to help us understand the harmful effects of chemicals on living organisms, and the extent to which they pose a risk to the health of humans and our ecosystem.

We are all exposed to a wide variety of chemicals, many of which have brought great benefits to society. However, hardly a week goes by without hearing that a chemical may threaten our health, whether that’s pesticides in the food we eat, pollutants in the air we breathe, or chemicals in the water we drink. Even drugs designed to treat disease can also cause adverse effects in patients taking them.  Harmful effects can be minor, such as headache or nausea, or severe, such as cancer or birth defects.

CareersSociety of Toxicology (SOT) website