Medical Definition of Toxicity

Toxicity: The degree to which a substance (a toxin or poison) can harm humans or animals. Acute toxicity involves harmful effects in an organism through a single or short-term exposure. Subchronic toxicity is the ability of a toxic substance to cause effects for more than one year but less than the lifetime of the exposed organism. Chronic toxicity is the ability of a substance or mixture of substances to cause harmful effects over an extended period, usually upon repeated or continuous exposure, sometimes lasting for the entire life of the exposed organism.

REFERENCE: Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

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Last Editorial Review: 5/13/2016

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