What is a "poison"? Proposal of definition

Raimon Guitart, Nuria Giménez

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


We discuss different interpretations of the term poison as well as the need of bringing up to date the changes in this matter according to the science progress. A clear and exact definition is proposed after analysing the factors that affect the relativity of the concept and its boundaries. The proposal for a definition is presented taking into account the most broadly extended concepts concerning its significance. That is to say: "a poison is, for human beings and their non-pathogenic and non-harmful biological environment, an electromagnetic or corpuscular radiation, or a non-infectious chemical agent, structured no larger in size than a small particle or fibre that, after being generated internally or after contact, penetration and/or absorption by a live organism, in sufficiently high dose, can produce or produces a direct or indirect adverse effect unrelated to its temperature or measurable electrical potential difference". The scientific knowledge needs accurate definitions to avoid ambiguities. © 2011 Elsevier España, S.L. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-132
Number of pages5
JournalMedicina Clinica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 18 Feb 2012


  • Poison
  • Radiation
  • Toxic actions
  • Toxicity
  • Toxicology


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