Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Toxic Exposure

  • Bradley J. HuffordEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_285


Neurotoxicity; Poisoning

Short Description or Definition

Toxins are most simply defined as poisons. Going strictly by definition, a toxin is different from a poison in that the former is produced by a biological process and the latter is not biologically derived. Venoms are considered toxins that are delivered via injection (bite, sting). However, in common parlance, even among various scientific disciplines, the terms “toxin” and “poison” are used relatively interchangeably. In keeping with this common usage, “toxic exposure” is defined here to be a direct or an indirect contact with any natural or man-made substance or agent that can lead to deleterious changes in body structure or function, including illness or death.


The list of categories of toxic substances and agents is potentially inclusive of every substance known. As Paracelsus (1493–1541), the purported father of toxicology, is reputed to have remarked, “There is nothing without poisonous qualities....
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References and Readings

  1. Grandjean, P., & Landrigan, P. (2006). Developmental neurotoxicity of industrial chemicals. The Lancet, 368(9553), 2167–2178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Hartman, D. (1995). Neuropsychological toxicology. New York: Plenum Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Niesink, R., Jaspers, R., Kornet, L., van Ree, J., & Tilson, H. (1999). Introduction to neurobehavioral toxicology: Food and environment. New York: CRC Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NeuropsychologyRehabilitation Hospital of IndianaIndianapolisUSA