Developing Pressure Indicators for Europe
Edited by Anil Markandya and Nick Dale
25. Dissipation of toxics H. Fiedler and O. Hutzinger 1. INTRODUCTION As a result of our civilization, there exists a multitude of anthropogenic activities with severe impacts on the environment, ecosystems and humans. The environment also receives inputs from naturally occurring processes which may or may not release toxic compounds or severely damage the environment. Such processes include volcanic eruptions, forest ﬁres, earthquakes, ﬂoods and hurricanes. Moreover, large amounts of organic compounds, including organochlorines, such as chloromethane (CH3Cl), are formed via enzymatic processes, found in foodstuffs (aﬂatoxins, botulinus toxin, indole3-carbazole) or formed during preparation of food (for example formation of nitrosamines, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) or in consumer goods (for example nicotine and ethanol). Before establishing concepts, some deﬁnitions should be clariﬁed, such as toxin, risk, adverse effect (damage), and the environment to be protected. 2. DEFINITION OF RISK Dose and Toxicity The old Paracelsus statement of 500 years ago is still valid. It is the dose that makes a chemical a toxin. Thus any chemical compound per se can be toxic to an organism above a critical concentration. As established by OECD, risk is deﬁned as a function of dose and toxicity; or mathematically as: Risk = f (Dose, Toxicity) Although the toxic potency of a chemical is constant, the dose or the potential of exposure to man or the environment can be reduced, for example by legislation. Moreover, to control exposure of the general population or envi222 H. Fiedler and O. Hutzinger 223 ronment, limit values,...
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