A toxicant is any toxic substance, whether man-made or naturally occurring.[1] By contrast, a toxin is a poison produced naturally by an organism[dubious ] (e.g. plant, animal, insect).[2] The different types of toxicants[3] can be found in the air, soil, water, or food.[4]


Toxicants can be found in the air, soil, water, or food.[4] Humans can be exposed to environmental toxicants.[5] Fish can contain environmental toxicants.[6] Cigarette smoke contains toxicants.[7] E-cigarette aerosol also contains toxicants.[8] The emissions of a heat-not-burn tobacco product contains toxicants.[9] Most heavy metals are toxicants.[10] Diesel exhaust contains toxicants.[11] Pesticides, benzene, and asbestos-like fibers such as carbon nanotubes are toxicants.[12] Possible developmental toxicants include phthalates, phenols, sunscreens, pesticides, halogenated flame retardants, perfluoroalkyl coatings, nanoparticles, e-cigarettes, and dietary polyphenols.[13]

Related termsEdit

By contrast, a toxin is a poison produced naturally by an organism (e.g. plant, animal, insect).[2] The 2011 book A Textbook of Modern Toxicology states, "A toxin is a toxicant that is produced by a living organism and is not used as a synonym for toxicant—all toxins are toxicants, but not all toxicants are toxins. Toxins, whether produced by animals, plants, insects, or microbes are generally metabolic products that have evolved as defense mechanisms for the purpose of repelling or killing predators or pathogens."[14]

Biocides are oxidizing or non-oxidizing toxicants.[15] Chlorine is the most commonly manufactured oxidizing toxicant.[15] Chlorine is ubiquitously added to drinking water to disinfect it.[16] Non-oxidized toxicants include isothiazolinones and quaternary ammonium compounds.[17]

An intoxicant is a substance that intoxicates such as an alcoholic drink.[18] An intoxicant is a substance that impairs the mind and causes a person to be in a state varying from exhilaration to lethargy.[19]


  1. ^ Francisco Sánchez-Bayo, Paul J. van den Brink, Reinier M. Mann (9 September 2011). Ecological Impacts of Toxic Chemicals. Francisco Sanchez-Bayo. pp. 6–. ISBN 978-1-60805-121-2.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ a b "NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms - toxin". National Cancer Institute.
  3. ^ Stanley Manahan; Stanley E. Manahan (17 December 2009). Environmental Chemistry, Ninth Edition. CRC Press. pp. 629–. ISBN 978-1-4398-8247-4.
  4. ^ a b Ernest Hodgson (20 September 2011). A Textbook of Modern Toxicology. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 88–. ISBN 978-1-118-21129-8.
  5. ^ Preston, Joshua D.; Reynolds, Leryn J.; Pearson, Kevin J. (2018). "Developmental Origins of Health Span and Life Span: A Mini-Review". Gerontology. 64 (3): 237–245. doi:10.1159/000485506. ISSN 0304-324X. PMC 5876086. PMID 29324453.
  6. ^ Gaskins, Audrey J.; Chavarro, Jorge E. (2018). "Diet and fertility: a review". American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 218 (4): 379–389. doi:10.1016/j.ajog.2017.08.010. ISSN 0002-9378. PMC 5826784. PMID 28844822.
  7. ^ Breland, Alison; Soule, Eric; Lopez, Alexa; Ramôa, Carolina; El-Hellani, Ahmad; Eissenberg, Thomas (2017). "Electronic cigarettes: what are they and what do they do?". Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 1394 (1): 5–30. Bibcode:2017NYASA1394....5B. doi:10.1111/nyas.12977. ISSN 0077-8923. PMC 4947026. PMID 26774031.
  8. ^ Perikleous, Evanthia P.; Steiropoulos, Paschalis; Paraskakis, Emmanouil; Constantinidis, Theodoros C.; Nena, Evangelia (2018). "E-Cigarette Use Among Adolescents: An Overview of the Literature and Future Perspectives". Frontiers in Public Health. 6: 86. doi:10.3389/fpubh.2018.00086. ISSN 2296-2565. PMC 5879739. PMID 29632856.
  9. ^ Li, Gerard; Saad, Sonia; Oliver, Brian; Chen, Hui (2018). "Heat or Burn? Impacts of Intrauterine Tobacco Smoke and E-Cigarette Vapor Exposure on the Offspring's Health Outcome". Toxics. 6 (3): 43. doi:10.3390/toxics6030043. ISSN 2305-6304. PMC 6160993. PMID 30071638.
  10. ^ Kim, Hyun Soo; Kim, Yeo Jin; Seo, Young Rok (2015). "An Overview of Carcinogenic Heavy Metal: Molecular Toxicity Mechanism and Prevention". Journal of Cancer Prevention. 20 (4): 232–240. doi:10.15430/JCP.2015.20.4.232. ISSN 2288-3649. PMC 4699750. PMID 26734585.
  11. ^ Leem, Jong Han; Jang, Young-Kee (2014). "Increase of diesel car raises health risk in spite of recent development in engine technology". Environmental Health and Toxicology. 29: e2014009. doi:10.5620/eht.e2014009. ISSN 2233-6567. PMC 4207092. PMID 25318659.
  12. ^ Costa, Chiara; Miozzi, Edoardo; Teodoro, Michele; Briguglio, Giusi; Rapisarda, Venerando; Fenga, Concettina (2017). "New insights on 'old' toxicants in occupational toxicology". Molecular Medicine Reports. 15 (5): 3317–3322. doi:10.3892/mmr.2017.6374. ISSN 1791-2997. PMID 28339055.
  13. ^ Wolff, Mary S.; Buckley, Jessie P.; Engel, Stephanie M.; McConnell, Rob S.; Barr, Dana B. (2017). "Emerging exposures of developmental toxicants". Current Opinion in Pediatrics. 29 (2): 218–224. doi:10.1097/MOP.0000000000000455. ISSN 1040-8703. PMC 5473289. PMID 28059904.
  14. ^ Ernest Hodgson (20 September 2011). A Textbook of Modern Toxicology. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 77–. ISBN 978-1-118-21129-8.
  15. ^ a b Linda Garverick (1 January 1994). Corrosion in the Petrochemical Industry. ASM International. pp. 103–. ISBN 978-0-87170-505-1.
  16. ^ Pilotto, Louis S. (1995). "Disinfection of drinking water, disinfection by-products and cancer: what about Australia?". Australian Journal of Public Health. 19 (1): 89–93. doi:10.1111/j.1753-6405.1995.tb00304.x. ISSN 1035-7319. PMID 7734603.
  17. ^ Rafael Vazquez-Duhalt; Rodolfo Quintero-Ramirez (18 September 2004). Petroleum Biotechnology: Developments and Perspectives. Elsevier. pp. 210–. ISBN 978-0-08-047371-0.
  18. ^ Don Salm; Ron Sklansky (2001). Legislation on Recodification of Operating While Intoxicated and Safety Laws Pertaining to Motor Vehicle, All-terrain Vehicle, Boat Or Snowmobile Operation. Wisconsin Legislative Council. pp. 12–.
  19. ^ Fahd Salem Bahammam (2013). Food and Dress in Islam: An explanation of matters relating to food and drink and dress in Islam. Modern Guide. pp. 1–. ISBN 978-1-909322-99-8.

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