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WikiProject iconToxin has been listed as a level-5 vital article in Biology, Health. If you can improve it, please do.
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NOTHING under Environmental Toxins???[edit]

Outrageous! There are so many! Toxins have been detected in babies fresh from the womb... the mothers and most of us are polluted by the very air, water, food, and world around us. Medication alone! We should all be talking about this subject. -- (talk) 05:00, 16 May 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:16, 9 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply] 

Toxins and toxicants[edit]

For informtion: Toxins are substances that are biological in origin, whereas chemicals that harm the body are correctly called toxicants. It appears to be a common mistake to use the word toxin to mean all harmful exogenous agents rather than correctly differenciating between the two. In some cases precision is needed: for example murcury is a toxicant, but methylmercury can be produced by plankton from mercury, a biological system and it is therefore a toxin. Talking about Environmental toxins is incorrect, when we mean products of anthropogenic activity: we should talk about Enviromental toxicants. Does this differentiation serve only to confuse?

Gonzo (talk) 10:21, 10 August 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Should this page be merged with poison? If not, I feel the distinction between a toxin and poison should be made clearer. -- FirstPrinciples 13:57, Dec 12, 2004 (UTC)

Most of that information should be moved elsewhere. As far as I'm concerned, a toxin is a compound produced by an organism which causes harm or injury. (some dictionaries list it as a specific product of metabolism and capable of inducing antibodies -- anyone know more about this?) There is no need for it kill quickly, efficiently or at all to qualify. Botulism is fatal in 15% of the cases and many people survive bee stings. The part about water/dietary minerals being toxic isn't relevant here. Not everything that's toxic is a toxin. I don't see toxin being more than a stub unless information from (biological) poisons is merged, along with venum, endotoxin, enterotoxin and exotoxin. --jag123 16:51, 12 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Agreed: I've edited it accordingly to focus on "toxin" alone. raygirvan Apr 18 2005
I take it that all toxins are poisons, and that all toxins are toxicants. But by the definitions given in the article, it sounds like all other poisons are toxicants too. So why have two words for the same thing (toxicant/poison), if the point of the article is to delineate toxins from all other [non-toxin] poisons? Also, from User:Jag123's comment above, it looks like the words "poisonous" and "toxic" are perfectly synonymous ("not everything that's toxic is a toxin"); could somebody please distinguish amongst these terms (poison, toxicant, toxin)? Thank you. (talk) 14:46, 10 February 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Bacterial toxins[edit]

Is anyone familiar with bacterial toxins? Are they actually produced with the purpose of self-defense as opposed to just being present in the structural components or a by-product of its metabolism?

It can be both. Especially fungi makes lot of toxin for bacterial defence, and some bacteria also do it against 'each other'. But as you yourself point out, they can be byproducts of their own metabolismen, which is excreted. I study biology at the University of Copenhagen. ----
What do bacterial toxins consist of? Are they neurotoxic? Hematotoxic? Irritants?-Rolypolyman 00:55, 1 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There is a separate article about bacterial toxins. NighthawkJ 00:48, 2 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Alt Med Rudeness[edit]

The *ahem* venom in the sentence on complementary medicine was way out of line with NPOV. People doing complementary medicine use a different definition of the word. Fine. You should be able to read this article without thinking that it's a scathing, non-specific attack on complementary medicine. DanKeshet 06:35, Jun 5, 2005 (UTC)

OK, so don't delete it - rephrase it in a way that you see as NPOV, but without blunting the specific detail that it's not merely a different usage, but one that mainstream science considers utter BS. The different usage is a matter of observation, and it's also a matter of observation that scientists have criticised it, both on grounds of it being a misnomer and the nature of such toxins being generally unproven. RayGirvan 10:49, 5 Jun 2005 (UTC)
The current version is much better than the old version I edited from. But when it says "mainstream scientists argue that the nature of such substances is usually unproven", that's pretty much useless. If someone wants to call mercury a "toxin", no mainstream scientist is going to argue it isn't deleterious to health, they might just say you have your terminology wrong. The current statement is just so broad it could apply to anything. DanKeshet 17:51, Jun 5, 2005 (UTC)
Whatever the proper semantics may be, the use of toxin as a biological substance for attack/defense does seem inconsistant with the common use in alt medicine. Especially with the many questionable methods of 'detox' (what are they removing exactly, how much is there, would the body do it on its own anyway, and is it even dangerous?) what is really being dealt with needs identifying. Perhaps we should communicate this, I know it's common jargon since 'toxin' is shorter than 'toxic substances'. Perhaps this is evidence of the word definition altering in culture, and we should specify toxin to be more of a broad thing? Venom does seem more accurate in classing biological defense mechanisms. Tyciol 14:08, 4 August 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I noticed a "citation needed" tag on the paragraph about alternative medicine's definition of "toxin". I'm confident that Kevin Trudeau addresses that in his book "Natural Cures "They" Don't Want You to Know About - many of these "natural cures" actually involve simply staying away from these toxins - but I do not have the book on my person at the moment, so I cannot provide any direct quotations. I do remember that Kevin Trudeau describes these manmade agents as "toxins" simply to emphasize their health-disrupting qualities in a way that the average layperson can understand, since the average layperson really doesn't give a hoot about how the word "toxin" is formally used. To your average Joe, the word "toxin" is simply a synonym for "poison", and the definition that alternative medicine uses for "toxin" merely caters to this informality. --Luigifan (talk) 14:19, 15 May 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Furthermore, the various "detoxes" are simply meant to help the body to get rid of the toxins. Alternative medicine does not claim that its techniques cure the body's ills (partially because that's technically not true, and partially because the pharmaceutical industry has explicitly threatened to sue the very life out of alternative-medicine-practitioners if they claim to have a better success rate than "conventional" medicine.) What alternative medicine can promise is that their techniques help the body to cure itself, since the human body is really the only thing capable of repairing itself. --Luigifan (talk) 14:24, 15 May 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Toxin, Poison, Toxic[edit]

It would seem that "toxin" is being confused with "poison" and with "toxic". Several comments are actually about toxic substances, e.g., "mercury" is a toxic substance. However, toxins are normally poisons that are produced by bioligical means. Snake venom, botulinin toxin (common food poisoning), etc. I will try to clarify some of the paragraphs as time allows. This is only a subtle difference, but when researching one will quickly find the terms used in a clear range in significant articles. El guero "Wayne"

You're absolutely right. I corrected the article by merging with biotoxin (redundant) and copyediting appropriately. – ClockworkSoul 02:08, 28 December 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Phycotoxin inclusion[edit]

I wonder if the word 'phycotoxin' should appear in this definition. there is no separate entry for this word, yet I came across this word in a book proposal today. it is basically a synonym for 'seafood toxin' zuzubel 19:54, 26 September 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Verrucotoxin inclusion[edit]

The type of toxin in venomous fish. Another one is Stonustoxin. Don't know enough about this subject. Perhaps this belongs in in Neurotoxin.Johnvr4 (talk) 03:46, 21 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Not accurate to say that "When toxins are generated by bacteria, they are called toxoids." Toxoids are toxins that have been modified to make them non-harmful without removing their ability to induce an immune response (as, in fact, described on the Wikipedia page for toxoids). Sophisticated penguin 15:11, 10 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

    • I took the toxoid information out and added "Toxoid" to the "Also See" section. The first part of what I removed was clearly in conflict with the "Toxoid" article, and the part pointing the error out says that the line above is "plain wrong" and so, is out of place. Besides, if toxoids are not toxins then there is little reason to include it, right?

Here it is: The phrase "When toxins are generated by bacteria, they are called toxoids" is plain wrong, although toxoids are indeed of bacterial origin (eg from C. diphtheriae or C. tetani), the term toxoid stems from tox-oid (toxin-like). Toxoids are defined correctly as modified toxins that have lost their specific activity but still can be used to induce antibodies recognizing and neutralizing the authentic toxins. This restricts the use of "toxoid" to Diphtheria and Tetanus and the respective vaccines.

--Globalist1789 21:00, 6 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Vira = Toxins?[edit]

As the text points out, toxins are biological substances made by cells. But does this mean that virus' are also toxins? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 14:45, 22 February 2007 (UTC).Reply[reply]

No, because the production of viral particles by an infected cell is a result of a specific pathological process, a viral infection. The definition of viruses as living organisms is problematic, as because they have no own metabolism, can't multiply without host cell and are not cells at all. Yet, viruses are clearly considered by most (in fact all known to my) biologist to be one of the lowest forms of life (along with prions), therefore, a virus is considered to be an organism.

Toxin is also considered a defined molecule; viruses are not defined molecules, they are composed of more, if not many, molecules.-- 22:35, 22 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

WikiProject class rating[edit]

This article was automatically assessed because at least one WikiProject had rated the article as start, and the rating on other projects was brought up to start class. BetacommandBot 16:32, 10 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  My class needs antonyms for toxin. can you write it here?  —Preceding unsigned comment added by Catwoman7770 (talkcontribs) 22:42, 19 October 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply] 

The info of PSP toxins...[edit]

-- (talk) 06:16, 15 February 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

-- (talk) 06:18, 15 February 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The infos of ASP toxin[edit]

-- (talk) 06:35, 15 February 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The infos of DSP toxins...[edit]

-- (talk) 06:59, 15 February 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Red links in the See also section are based on the following...[edit]

-- (talk) 07:54, 15 February 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Toxins from meat....[edit]

-- (talk) 08:04, 15 February 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

-- (talk) 08:09, 15 February 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Food toxins....[edit]

-- (talk) 08:14, 15 February 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

-- (talk) 08:14, 15 February 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

-- (talk) 08:15, 15 February 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

-- (talk) 08:23, 15 February 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

universal warning picture[edit]

Isn't this picture (used in the article) also the "universal warning symbol" for pirates? I mean, is this really the "universal warning symbol" for toxins? -- (talk) 13:10, 8 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Dangerous substances symbol[edit]

I'm going to delete the above: it is 180° misleading, per the opening text of the article. Spicemix (talk) 19:52, 15 September 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Toxin/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

Rated "top" as high school/SAT biology content and topic of general interest. The article is more stub than start and needs references. - tameeria 01:08, 19 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Last edited at 01:08, 19 February 2007 (UTC). Substituted at 09:07, 30 April 2016 (UTC)


Why isnt alcohol mentioned?

Just granpa (talk) 01:31, 5 August 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

American POV is not neutral POV[edit]

Paragraph or sub-article Finding information about toxins should be removed from this article as it pertains only to US of America. English Wikipedia is for all English-understaning world, i.e. pretty much all of it, and for most of it this passus in this article is of no use or information whatsoever, contradicting so wikipedian core principles. If there were article Toxins in US of America or smth, would be OK. And really, is alcohol toxin on not? It is produced within and by living organisms, it kills some organisms, it consists of molecules, so why not? BirgittaMTh (talk) 19:40, 13 May 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

External links modified (January 2018)[edit]

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Poisonous Plants Or Herbs And Their Effects.[edit]

The Oleander Plant[edit]

The Oleander Plant Otherwise Known As The Nerium oleander, Is A dogbane family Apocynaceae And Is The Most Highly Toxic Plant, The Plant Is Found Worldwide in temperate and subtropical areas as an ornamental and landscaping plant. Touching This Plant Will Cause Serious Irritation On The Skin Or Dermatitis All Parts Of The Oleander Plant Are Considered Toxic And Inhaling A Single Leaf Of The Plant Will Cause Heart Attack And Death. Oleanders bloom from spring to fall and come in orange, pink, red, white and yellow growing From 8 To 12 Feet.


Hydrangea otherwise known As Hortensia, is a genus of flowering plant of 70–75 species Other Types Of The Hydrangea Plant Include, Panicled hydrangea, French hydrangea, Smooth hydrangea, Oakleaf hydrangea, Climbing hydrangea, Tea of heaven, and the Hydrangea aspera. Side Effects Of Consuming The Plant Include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, and chest tightness.

Lily of the valley[edit]

Lily of the valley, Otherwise Written As lily-of-the-valley Is A Woodland Flowering Plant with sweetly scented, pendent, bell-shaped white flowers Borne At Spring In Asia And Europe, The Flower Contains toxic compounds Called cardiac glycosides, which can cause symptoms such as dizziness, vomiting, rashes, and diarrhea And Can Kill You. The lily of the valley represents sweetness and the return of happiness.


Delphinium Is A Plant Of 300 Species, The Plant Can Grow Up to 6 feet In Length. Delphinium Is Poisonous When Inhaled And Can Kill You A Common Name For Delphinium Is Larkspur. Delphinium Is native throughout the Northern Hemisphere and also on the high mountains of tropical Africa.


There are more than 200 species of iris and related plants. The entire plant is toxic and can kill you. It takes its name from the Greek word for a rainbow, which is also the name for the Greek goddess of the rainbow, Iris Is Found In temperate Northern hemisphere zones, from Europe to Asia and across North America.

Mountain Laurel[edit]

Kalmia latifolia, commonly called mountain laurel, calico-bush, or spoonwood, is a broadleaved evergreen shrub and is poisonous, side effects happen after 6 hours of consuming Mountain Laurel And Is Deadly. Mountain Laurel is native to the eastern United States. Its range stretches from southern Maine south to northern Florida, and west to Indiana and Louisiana.

Morning Glory[edit]

Morning glory is the common name for over 1,000 species of flowering plants, Fortunately, eating morning glory flowers is not dangerous, But The Seeds Are Poisonous If Consumed And Can Cause Hallucinations. There are also insects that like to eat through the leaves and stem of the morning glory.

Toxicologist Kamori (talk) 19:27, 16 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]


@Pierrelittle: Twice today I have had to restore the previous wording, as supported by Brade 1999, that Brieger was the first to use the term "toxin". Both times my edits were needed to correct your changes, unsupported by Brade 1999, indicating that Brieger was instead the first to use the term toxicant. -- Paleorthid (talk) 23:18, 19 May 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I am dubious that the term toxin applies only to toxicants produced naturally by an organism. This would seem to exclude naturally occurring mineral toxicants in food like arsenic and cadmium. Arsenic is described as a toxin in reliable sources: WebMD[1], Consumer Reports[2], PNAS[3], ScienceDaily[4], Discover Magazine[5], and Eos (magazine)[6]. Paleorthid (talk) 23:40, 19 May 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Update: Arsenic fits this particular dictionary definition of a toxin: "a poisonous substance that is a specific product of the metabolic activities of a living organism".[1] because, according to the WP article on arsenic, arsenic is a toxicant in food because of redox chemistry, chemistry driven by metabolic activities of living organisms. -- Paleorthid (talk) 16:33, 20 May 2022 (UTC) Paleorthid (talk) 16:33, 20 May 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Update: The argument counter to my proposal: "toxin refers only to those poisonous substances that are produced biologically. Thus, arsenic is a poison but it is not generally called a toxin. Confusingly, while the noun forms “poison” and “toxin” carry a distinction that the latter are of natural origin, the adjective forms “toxic” and “poisonous” are used interchangeably. Arsenic properly can be called a “toxic chemical” or a “toxic substance.” Similarly, the term “toxicant” is often used synonymously with poison. Finally, it should be pointed out that the word “biotoxin” defined as “a poisonous substance produced by a living organism” should be considered redundant" [2] -- Paleorthid (talk) 20:31, 20 May 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  1. ^ "toxin – Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary". Retrieved 13 December 2008.
  2. ^ Bennett, Joan W; Inamdar, Arati A. "Are Some Fungal Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) Mycotoxins?". Toxins. Basel Year=2015. 7 (9): 3785–3804. doi:10.3390/toxins7093785.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: location (link)