Toxicity can be broken down into two broad categories of direct and indirect toxicity. Direct toxicity results from a toxicant acting at the site of action in or on the organism. Indirect toxicity occurs with a change in the physical, chemical, or biological environment.
Lethality is most common effect used in toxicology and used as an endpoint for acute toxicity tests. While conducting chronic toxicity tests sublethal effects are endpoints that are looked at. These endpoints include behavioral, physiological, biochemical, histological changes.
There are a number of effects that occur when an organism is simultaneous exposed to two or more toxicants. These effects include additive effects, synergistic effects, potentiation effects, and antagonistic effects. An additive effect occurs when combined effect is equal to a combination or sum of the individual effects. A synergistic effect occurs when the combination of effects is much greater than the two individual effects added together. Potentiation is an effect that occurs when an individual chemical has no effect is added to a toxicant and the combination has a greater effect than just the toxicant alone. Finally, an antagonistic effect occurs when a combination of chemicals has less of an effect than the sum of their individual effects.
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