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Ecotoxicity, the subject of study of the field of ecotoxicology (a portmanteau of Ecology and Toxicology) refers to the potential for biological, chemical or physical stressors to affect ecosystems. Such stressors might occur in the natural environment at densities, concentrations or levels high enough to disrupt the natural biochemistry, physiology, behavior and interactions of the living organisms that comprise the ecosystem.

Ecotoxicology has been defined as, "the branch of toxicology concerned with the study of toxic effects, caused by natural or synthetic pollutants, to the constituents of ecosystems, animal (including human), vegetable and microbial, in an integral context” (Truhaut, 1977).

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  • Truhaut, R. 1977, "Eco-Toxicology - Objectives, Principles and Perspectives", Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 151–173.

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