Ecotoxicology is the study of:
- the toxic effects of chemical and physical agents on organisms and communities;
- the methods of transfer of these agents, as well as their interactions with the environment.
Ecotoxicology is therefore the study of the ecological consequences of environmental pollution by toxic substances.
The field of study of ecotoxicology especially focuses on the mechanisms by which pollutants act on the entire biosphere: sources of contamination, circulation between and within ecosystems, effects on the biocoenosis and disturbances of fundamental mechanisms (primary production, recycling of elements, reproduction, etc.).
Thus, ecotoxicology facilitates evaluation of the ecotoxicological risk (toxicity and exposure) for ecosystems, a risk caused by different polluting agents. It therefore becomes possible to implement measures to prevent and monitor these agents.
Toxic, persistent and bioaccumulable, PCBs have contaminated many aquatic environments. Their ecotoxicological effects are still unclear but the consumption of contaminated fish is known to be dangerous. © David Reverchon CC by-nc-sa 2.0