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What is Toxicology?

Toxicology is the discipline that studies poisons: by definition, a "poison" is the substance that has the ability to cause harmful effects in an organism.

The effects can be summarized with the term "toxicity".

Toxicity is a sequence of events that begins with exposure, absorption, distribution, accumulation, biotransformation, metabolism and ends with the excretion of the substance. Toxicity is closely related to the dose: dose makes the poison.

The classification of chemical substances is as complex as it is important, in order to be able to recognize which of them was the cause of the onset of toxic effects.

The forensic toxicologist intervenes in cases of intoxication, poisoning, alcoholism, drug addiction, murder, suicide caused by the use of substances.

In the forensic field, the toxicologist carries out the expert opinions, which have legal importance, in cases of suspected poisoning or intoxication. Knowledge about chemistry is an important aspect in forensic toxicology, therefore the toxicologist thanks to it, is able to determine the nature of the toxic substance responsible for the injury or death.

Martina Barberi

Toxicology Student

Official member of IPO Section Italy

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