This chapter offers some background information on selected issues and toxicants of importance in ecotoxicology. Ecotoxicology can be defined as the science of predicting effects of potentially toxic agents on natural ecosystems and on nontarget species. As such, ecotoxicology is the most encompassing specialty within the discipline of toxicology. The breadth of ecotoxicological studies is therefore immense. The necessity of an interdisciplinary approach and a combination of field and laboratory studies was illustrated in early ecotoxicological studies of spent lead shot pellets. The future of a healthy environment for humans, domestic animals, and wild biota depends to a large extent on the degree to which one learns to use and control naturally occurring and synthetic chemicals. Although there are successes, and some environments are cleaner now than in the recent past, the continually expanding number of chemicals released into the environment increasing free nutrients that prompt biotoxin production and the adverse impacts noted in the environment demonstrate the striking need for vigilance and accountability through research, education, environmental law and enforcement, and development of prudent science-driven environmental policy.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)