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The Internal Critical Level Concept of Nonspecific Toxicity

  • Yupadee Chaisuksant
  • Qiming Yu
  • Des W. Connell
Chapter
Part of the Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology book series (RECT, volume 162)

Abstract

Toxicity of chemicals to organisms may be classified into two basic types: specific (or reactive or chemical) and nonspecific (or nonreactive or physical) (37;137). Specific toxicity results from a specific chemical reaction mechanism such as a reaction with an enzyme or the inhibition of a metabolic pathway in an organism (13). Toxicants causing this type of toxicity include heavy metal ions, organometallic compounds, and other chemically reactive agents (37). Nonspecific toxicity, often described as narcosis, refers to any reversible decrease in the physiological functions of an organism. This mode of toxic action is directly associated with the quantity, rather than the chemical structure, of the toxicants involved (13;137). Nonspecific toxicity has been found to be the predominant mode of toxic action of industrial organic chemicals acting on aquatic organisms, especially fish. A variety of organic compounds act as nonspecific toxicants to aquatic organisms, including aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons, chlorinated hydrocarbons, alcohols, ethers, weak acids and bases, and some aliphatic nitrocompounds (186). These compounds have also been described as depressants because of their use as hypnotics and general anaesthetics in higher organisms and humans (4). In small doses they induce sleep and in larger doses a lack of sensation-awareness in the brain to any change in the body (4;43).

Keywords

Lipid Bilayer Aquatic Organism Partial Molar Volume Toxic Action Bioconcentration Factor 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yupadee Chaisuksant
    • 1
  • Qiming Yu
    • 2
  • Des W. Connell
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of Science and TechnologyPrince of Songkla UniversityPattaniThailand
  2. 2.Faculty of Environmental SciencesGriffith UniversityNathanAustralia

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