Organizations & People
Pure Appl. Chem.,
Vol. 65, No. 9, pp. 2003-2122, 1993.
COMMISSION ON TOXICOLOGY
Glossary for chemists of terms used in toxicology
(IUPAC Recommmendations 1993)
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of the proportion of a population which dies during a specified
period. The numerator is the number of persons dying during the
period; the denominator is the size of the population, usually estimated
as the mid-year population. The death rate in a population is generally
calculated by the formula:
10n (Number of deaths during a specified
period) / (Number of persons at risk of dying during the period)
This rate is an estimate of the person-time death
rate, the death rate per 10n
person-years: usually n
= 3. If the rate is low, it is also a good estimate of the cumulative
death rate. This rate is also called the crude death rate.
PS mortality, mortality
decompensation: Explicit pathophysiological
changes following compensation for adverse effects.
decontamination: Process of rendering harmless
(by neutralization, elimination, removal etc.) a potentially toxic
substance in the natural environment, laboratory areas, the workplace,
other indoor areas, clothes, food, water, sewage etc.
defoliant: Substance used for removal of
leaves by its toxic action on living plants.
dehydrogenase: Enzyme which catalyses oxidation
of compounds by removing hydrogen.
Consequence occurring after a latent period following the end of
exposure to a toxic substance or other harmful environmental factor.
SN latent effect
1. Addition of methanol or acetone to alcohol to make it unfit for
2. Change in molecular structure of proteins so that they cannot
function normally, often caused by splitting of hydrogen
bonds following exposure to reactive substances or
: Reduction of nitrates to
nitrites, nitrous oxides or dinitrogen (N2
by facultative aerobic soil bacteria under anaerobic conditions.
Nagel et al. (eds),1990
dental fluorosis: Variety of tooth enamel
malformations due to excessive fluoride exposure during dental development.
: Constituent of chromosomes which stores the hereditary
information of an organism in the form of a sequence of purine and
pyrimidine bases: this information relates to the synthesis of proteins
and hence it is a determinant of all physical and functional activities
of the cell, and consequently of the whole organism.
RT ribonucleic acid (RNA).
1. A psychic craving for a drug or other substance which may or
may not be accompanied by a physical dependency.
2. Reliance on a drug or other substance to maintain health.
depilatory: Substance causing loss of hair.
1. Process by which a substance arrives at a particular organ or
tissue site, for example the deposition of particles on
the ciliated epithelium of the bronchial airways.
2. Process by which a substance sediments out of the atmosphere
or water and settles in a certain place.
: Pertaining to
dermal irritation: Skin reaction resulting
from a single or multiple exposure to a physical or chemical entity
at the same site, characterised by the presence of inflammation;
it may result in cell death.
dermatitis: Inflammation of the skin: contact
dermatitis is due to local exposure and may be caused by irritation,
allergy or infection.
descriptive epidemiology: Study of the occurrence
of disease or other health-related characteristics in populations,
including general observations concerning the relationship of disease
to basic characteristics such as age, sex, race, occupation, and
social class; it may also be concerned with geographic location.
The major characteristics in descriptive epidemiology can be classified
under the headings: individuals, time and place.
desensitization: Suppression of sensitivity
of an organism to an allergen to which the organism has been exposed
1. Drying agent.
2. In agriculture, a substance used for drying up plants and facilitating
their mechanical harvesting.
desquamation: Shedding of an outer layer
of skin in scales or shreds.
1. Process, or processes, of chemical modification which make a
toxic molecule less toxic.
2. Treatment of patients suffering from poisoning in such a way
as to promote physiological processes which reduce the
probability or severity of harmful effects.
detoxification by haemosorption perfusion
Passage of a patient's blood through a set of columns filled with
a haemosorbent (activated charcoal, ion-exchange resin, etc.): the
purpose of the operation is to remove a toxic substance from the
organism, particularly in an emergency.
RT haemoperfusion, haemosorption
detriment: Estimated measure of the expected
harm or loss associated with an adverse event, usually in a manner
chosen to facilitate meaningful addition over different events.
It is generally the integrated product of arbitrary values of risk
and hazard and is often expressed in terms such as costs in US dollars,
loss in expected years of life or loss in productivity, and is needed
for numerical exercises such as cost-benefit analysis.
: Adverse effects on the developing organism (including
structural abnormality, altered growth, or functional deficiency
or death) resulting from exposure prior to conception (in either
parent), during prenatal development, or postnatally up to the time
of sexual maturation.
RT embryotoxicity, teratogenicity
diaphoresis: Profuse perspiration.
: Causing profuse perspiration.
Metal chelator which has been used in the treatment of arsenic,
antimony, gold, mercury and lead poisoning.
SN British anti-Lewisite,
state in which the chromosomes are present in homologous pairs.
Normal human somatic (non-reproductive) cells are diploid (they
have 46 chromosomes), whereas reproductive cells, with 23 chromosomes,
RT haploid, meiosis,
(effluent, emission) standard or release limit:
of a pollutant released from a given source to a specified medium
which is acceptable under specified circumstances.
: Any difference in
a character between individuals due to genetic differences such
as may occur in dizygotic twins, or between matched pairs in a case
dis-ease, lack of ease; pathological condition that presents a group
of symptoms peculiar to it and which establishes the condition as
an abnormal entity different from other normal or pathological body
: See SN intermittent
disposition: Natural tendency shown by an
individual or group of individuals, including any tendency to acquisition
of specific diseases, often due to hereditary factors.
dissipation: Reduction in the amount of a
pesticide or other compound which has been applied to plants, soil
etc. (used when it is not clear whether this is by mineralization
degradation, binding, or leaching).
1. Dispersal of a substance and its derivatives throughout the natural
2. Dispersal of a substance within an organism, including metabolism,
storage and excretion.
3. Final location of a substance within an organism after dispersal.
diuresis: Excretion of urine, especially
: Agent which
increases urine production.
: Dose expressed as a function of the
organism being dosed and time, for example mg/(kg body weight)/day.
: Total amount of
a substance administered to, taken or absorbed by an organism.
NT absolute lethal dose,
lethal dose, lethal dose,
maximum tolerable dose,
effective dose, median lethal
narcotic dose, minimum
organ dose, threshold
dose, toxic dose
Graph of the relation between dose and the magnitude of the biological
change produced measured in appropriate units.
: Association between dose and the magnitude of
a continuously graded effect, either in an individual or in a population
or in experimental animals.
dose-related effect: Situation in which the
magnitude of a biological change is related to the dose.
AN non-dose-related effect.
: Graph of the relation between dose and the proportion
of individuals in a population responding with an all-or-none effect.
Draize test: Evaluation of materials for
their potential to cause dermal or ocular irritation and corrosion
following local exposure; generally using the rabbit model (almost
exclusively the New Zealand White) although other animal species
have been used.
: Any substance which when absorbed into
a living organism may modify one or more of its functions. The term
is generally accepted for a substance taken for a therapeutic purpose,
but is also commonly used for abused substances.
SN medicine, pharmaceutical
After WHO, 1978a
duplicate portion sampling method (diet/food):
Method frequently used for the same purposes as the total diet study
technique. Test persons consume their ordinary diet but for each
meal, they prepare for subsequent analysis a duplicate portion of
all food as prepared, served and consumed.
SN duplicate diet study.
duplicate (replicate) samples (in chemistry)
Two (or multiple) samples taken under the same or comparable conditions.
dysarthria: Imperfect articulation of speech
due to neuromuscular damage.
dysfunction: Abnormal, impaired, or incomplete
functioning of an organism, organ, tissue or cell.
dysplasia: Abnormal development of an organ
or tissue identified by morphological examination.
dyspnoea: Difficult or laboured breathing.
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