Sources and Toxicity of Pollutants
Pp. 3-12 (10)
Modern living standards depend largely on the production and usage of thousands of chemicals, many of which are toxic and synthetically produced. These substances are discharged into the air, soil, water bodies and the sea through a variety of ways, becoming pollutants of our environment. The investigation of their fate and impacts they have on ecosystems is called ecotoxicology, a multidisciplinary science which intends to evaluate the nature of the discharge, the transformation and distribution of toxicants in the environment, exposure, lethality and sublethal effects on organisms, population responses, and changes in community structure and ecosystem function. The sources and mode of action of some of the most common groups of toxicants are described in this chapter, leaving their fate and effects in organisms and ecosystems for the subsequent chapters.
Centre for Ecotoxicology, University of Technology Sydney, Australia.