ABSORPTION – The uptake of a chemical or water into or across a tissue, such as skin.
ACCUMULATION – The build-up of chemical in the organism as a result of repeated, or long term exposure.
ACUTE TOXICITY – adverse effects arising from a single exposure or short term exposure to a chemical.
ALLERGEN – A substance which causes an allergic reaction.
ALLERGY – An adverse reaction which is caused by an over-stimulation of the immune system in response to a specific allergen, which is otherwise harmless and would be normally tolerated by the majority of those who come in contact with it.
BENIGN TUMOUR – A tumour that does not invade surrounding tissues or spread to other parts of the body.
CARCINOGEN – A substance that is capable of causing cancer.
CARCINOGENESIS – The process of the development of a cancer.
CHRONIC TOXICITY – Adverse health effects arising from continuous or intermittent exposure to low concentrations of chemical over a lifetime.
CORROSIVE – A chemical that causes irreversible alterations or destruction in living tissue at the site of contact.
CUMULATIVE EXPOSURE – A summation of all the exposures that have been undergone by an organism during a specified period of time.
DERMATITIS – Inflammation of the skin
DEVELOPMENTAL TOXICOLOGY – Adverse toxic effects in the developing embryo or foetus
DNEL – Derived No Effect Level. This is the dose above which exposure may give rise to adverse effects.
DOSE – The amount of chemical administered. It is a measure of exposure.
DOSE –RESPONSE – The relationship between the dose of a chemical and the degree/severity of the resulting effect.
ELIMINATION/EXCRETION – The removal of a chemical from the body. This occurs mostly via exhalation of air, or in the urine or faeces.
END POINT – A specific biological effect or response which is used as an indicator of the effect of the chemical on the organism.
EPIDEMIOLOGY – The study of the incidence and distribution of disease in populations.
EXPOSURE – Contact with a chemical. The most common routes are inhalation, skin contact and also by oral ingestion.
GAVAGE – Oral feeding by a tube.
GENOTOXIC – Chemicals that cause hereditary mutations as a result of directly interacting with the DNA.
GENOTOXIC CARCINOGENS – Chemicals causing cancer as a result of directly interacting with DNA.
HAZARD –The inherent ability of a chemical to cause an adverse effect
HYPERSENSITIVITY – The state in which an individual reacts following exposure to a substance with allergic effects after having been exposed (sensitised).
IN VITRO – Latin for “in glass”. Studies which use tissue, cellular or subcellular extracts from a living organism.
IN VIVO – Studies which are carried out in living organisms.
IRRITANT – A chemical causing a localised inflammatory reaction to skin or mucous membranes at the site of contact.
LC50 – Lethal Concentration 50%. This is the concentration which causes death in 50% of the test population.
LIPOPHILIC – “fat loving.” This term refers to the ability of a chemical to dissolve in lipids, fats, etc.
LOAEL – Lowest Observable Adverse Effect Level. This is the lowest dose in the study which causes an observable adverse effect.
MALIGNANT TUMOUR – A tumour which is cancerous and will metastasise into surrounding tissues.
MUTATION – An alteration in the genetic material, which can be passed onto subsequent generations.
NEOPLASM – Another word for tumour.
NEUROTOXIN – A chemical that causes adverse effects in the nervous system.
NOAEL – No Observed Adverse Effect Level. This is the largest dose in a given study that does not cause an adverse effect.
NON GENOTOXIC CARCINOGEN – Chemical carcinogens that cause cancer by effects other than direct damage to the genetic material.
PRIMARY IRRITANT – A chemical that causes an inflammatory reaction on first contact.
SENSTISATION – The immune process by which individuals become hypersensitive to a substance to which they are exposed. Subsequent exposure can lead to the development of an allergic response.
SYSTEMIC EFFECTS – Effects which occur somewhere within the body, for example in the liver or kidney, etc.
TERATOGEN – A chemical agent causing adverse effects in the normal embryonic development without causing lethality in the foetus or maternal toxicity.
TOXICOLOGY – The study of adverse effects of chemicals on living organisms.