Deterioration of environment has been taking place all around us. Pollution of water, air, soils and the foods we eat has created a definite public health hazard which usually causes slow development of chronic and non-specific symptoms of toxicity. At times, these exposures may be of acute nature as well.
Accumulation and biomagnifications of these toxic materials in the biosphere pose a serious problem. The toxic substances, their behavior, effects on living organisms and the procedures adopted to reduce or terminate the toxic action come under the purview of a separate branch of science which we call Toxicology.
With varying degree of pollution of air, water and soil around, living organisms knowingly or unknowingly absorb significant amounts of toxic substances within their bodies. Sometimes, the ingestion of toxic materials may be intentional or deliberate also.
A toxic response may or may not appear which depends upon the amount of material absorbed, the chemical properties and behavior of the toxic agent within the living system. All those aspects which are linked with environmental degradation due to the presence of various toxic materials are covered in the discipline of toxicology which is referred to as Environmental Toxicology.
In other words, Environmental Toxicology is a branch of toxicology which deals with incidental exposure of biological systems to chemicals which are basically contaminants of air, water and food supplies. It is a study of causes, conditions and effects of such chemicals on a living system.