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Toxins

Definition

Toxins are substances created by plants and animals that are poisonous to humans. Toxins also include medications that are helpful in small doses, but poisonous when used in large amounts.

Most toxins that cause problems in humans are released by germs such as bacteria. For example, cholera is due to a bacterial toxin.

Other toxins that cause problems include metals, such as lead, and organic chemicals in the environment.

Related topics:

References

Ford MD. Acute poisoning. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 110.

McGuigan MA. Chronic poisoning, trace metals and others. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 21.

Russell JA. Shock syndromes related to sepsis. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 108.


Review Date: 4/21/2013
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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