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Tooth Whiteners & Oral Hygiene Products containing hydrogen peroxide

 

Glossary over Tooth Whiteners & Oral Hygiene Products

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). As mandated by the federal superfund law, the agency assesses health risks from hazardous waste sites on the EPA's National Priorities List. ATSDR determines if additional health studies are needed at these sites, provides health advisories and publishes toxicological profiles on chemicals found at hazardous waste sites.

ATSDR also maintains exposure registries of people exposed to certain substances. (Source: ATSDR website  )

Alcohol

The term alcohol refers to a family of chemicals that occur widely in nature and are mass-produced for use in antifreezes, fuels and some manufacturing processes.

Alcohol is commonly used to refer to alcohol-containing drinks such as wine, beer and spirits. In this case the alcohol, ethanol, has been produced by a process called fermentation. Consumption of excessive amounts of alcohol can lead to drunkenness and may be harmful to health. (Source: GreenFacts)

Cancer

Any one of a group of diseases that occur when cells in the body become abnormal and have the potential to spread and establish growth in nearby tissues and other parts of the body (malignancy). (Source: GreenFacts )

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Carbamide peroxide

Carbamide peroxide, (CH4N2O.H2O2), is a chemical that contains hydrogen peroxide and urea – an organic compound. Its structural formula is:

Carbamide formula

Pure carbamide peroxide has the form of white crystals or crystal powder, is soluble in water, and contains approximately 35% hydrogen peroxide.

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Carcinogen

A substance, factor or situation that causes or induces cancer. (Source: GreenFacts )

Cell

The basic subunit of any living organism; the simplest unit that can exist as an independent living system. There are many different types of cells in complex organisms such as humans, each with specific characteristics. (Source: GreenFacts)

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Cell culture

The process of growing and maintaining cells under laboratory conditions, commonly on a glass surface immersed in nutrient fluid. (Source: GreenFacts)

Cellulose

The principal component of cell walls of plants, composed of a long chain of tightly bound sugar molecules. (Source: weblife.org Humanure Glossary  )

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Cement (in dentistry)

Any of various materials used by dentists to fill cavities in teeth or to hold crowns in. (Source: GreenFacts)

Chemical element

A substance which cannot be separated into its constituent parts and still retains its chemical identity. For example, sodium (Na) is an element. (Source: US EPA Drinking Water Glossary  )

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Chronic

Occurring over a long period of time, either continuously or intermittently; used to describe ongoing exposures and effects that develop only after a long exposure. (Source: US EPA Thesaurus  )

Compound(s)

A material made up of two or more elements combined in a fixed ratio. (Source: CoRIS glossary  )

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Concentration

The amount of a chemical or substance present in a particular quantity of soil, water, air, food, blood, hair, urine, breath, or any other media. (Source: GreenFacts)

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Conjunctiva

A transparent membrane covering the eyeball and the inner surface of the eyelid. (Source: GreenFacts)

Controlled study

An experiment or clinical trial in which two groups are used for comparison purpose.

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Demineralisation (in dentistry)

Loss of minerals from the tooth enamel. (Source: GreenFacts)

Dental erosion

Dental erosion is the loss of enamel and dentine from the tooth as a result of direct acid attack.

It is caused by excessive exposure to acid substances – such as those present in fruit juices and fizzy drinks – that are different from those produced by bacteria involved in the process of dental caries (decay).

Dental erosion is irreversible.

The most common teeth affected by dental erosion are the upper front teeth, although all teeth can be affected. Teeth that have been eroded look glassy, can appear short, and have uneven tips that are easily chipped away. (Source: GreenFacts, based on The Dental Centre Dental Erosion  )

Dental pulp

The soft tissue forming the inner structure of a tooth and containing nerves and blood vessels. (Source: The free dictionary Dental pulp   )

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Dentine

Dentine is an ivory-like substance that forms the inner layer of a tooth (covered by the enamel) and the bulk of the hard-tissue component of a tooth. Dentine is softer than enamel. (Source: GreenFacts)

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DG Health and Consumers

"The Health and Consumers DG (formally known as Health and Consumer Protection DG) is one of 36 Directorates-General (DGs) and specialised services which make up the European Commission."

The mission statement of the Health and Consumers DG is: "to promote a better quality of life by ensuring a high level of protection of consumers' health, safety and economic interests as well as of public health"

"This overall goal is addressed through legislative and non-legislative actions in three inter-related policy areas: 1. Consumer policy (...), 2. Public Health (...), 3. Food safety, animal health, animal welfare and plant health (...)". (Source: DG Health and Consumers website  )

DNA

DNA constitutes the molecules inside cells that carry genetic information and pass it from one generation to the next. (Source: NCI cancer.gov dictionary  )

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Dose

The amount of a substance to which a person is exposed over some time period. Dose is a measurement of exposure. Dose is often expressed as milligram (amount) per kilogram (a measure of body weight) per day (a measure of time) when people eat or drink contaminated water, food, or soil. In general, the greater the dose, the greater the likelihood of an effect. An "exposure dose" is how much of a substance is encountered in the environment. An "absorbed dose" is the amount of a substance that actually got into the body through the eyes, skin, stomach, intestines, or lungs. (Source: ATSDR Glossary of Terms  )

Elemental mercury

Hg. Mercury in its elemental (pure) form, that is, as a metal; hence the synonym metallic mercury. A shiny, silver-gray metal that is a liquid at room temperature. (Source: GreenFacts)

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Enamel

Enamel is the hard calcified tissue which covers the dentine of a tooth. It is the hardest substance produced by vertebrates.

Enamel is composed almost entirely of inorganic calcium phosphate (apatite), most of which is arranged in a crystalline lattice structure. (Source: GreenFacts)

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Enzyme(s)

A protein that encourages a biochemical reaction, usually speeding it up. Organisms could not function if they had no enzymes. (Source: NHGRI NHGRI Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms  )

Epidemiological studies

Studies on human populations, which attempt to link human health effects (e.g. cancer) to a cause (e.g. exposure to a specific chemical). (Source: GreenFacts)

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Esophagus

The muscular tube through which food passes from the pharynx to the stomach. (Source: GreenFacts)

European Chemicals Bureau

The European Chemicals Bureau (ECB) was active until August 2008 as part of the Institute for Health and Consumer Protection (IHCP), which is one of the seven scientific institutes in the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC).

Its mission was to provide scientific and technical support to the conception, development, implementation and monitoring of EU policies on chemicals and consumer products. This included managing the risk assessment process, the development of guidance documents and tools in support of the REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) Regulation, the Testing Methods Regulation, the Global Harmonised System (GHS) for the classification and labelling of hazardous chemicals and the Biocidal Products Directive.

Some of ECB's activities have been taken over by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), others remain within the Institute for Health and Consumer Protection under the Consumer Products Safety & Quality (CPS&Q) Unit. (Source: ECB website  and CPS&Q website  )

European Commission

"The European Commission (EC) embodies and upholds the general interest of the [European] Union and is the driving force in the Union's institutional system. Its four main roles are to propose legislation to Parliament and the Council, to administer and implement Community policies, to enforce Community law (jointly with the Court of Justice) and to negotiate international agreements, mainly those relating to trade and cooperation."

The Commission's staff is organised into 36 Directorates-General (DGs) and specialised services, such as the Environment DG and the Research DG. (Source: EC website  )

European Cosmetics Directive

The Cosmetics Directive (76/768/EEC) is the overall piece of EC legislation that regulates the manufacture and placing on the market of cosmetic products. Its main aim is to ensure that cosmetics are not harmful under normal or foreseeable conditions of use. Adopted by the European Union in 1976, it has since been substantially revised many times. (Source: GreenFacts)

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Exposure

Contact of the cells of an organism with a substance, micro-organism or radiation. In the case of humans, this may involve contact with a substance or agent by swallowing, breathing, or through the skin or eyes. Exposure may be short-term [acute exposure], of intermediate duration, or long-term [chronic exposure].

Exposure can be divided into external and internal.

External exposure refers to the whole dose to which an organism is exposed.

Internal exposure refers only to that fraction of the initial chemical dose that is absorbed and distributed throughout the body via systemic circulation. (Source: GreenFacts)

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Fluoride

Fluorine (F) is the first element of the halogen family and the most reactive of all chemical elements. The term "fluoride" refers to its ionic form (F-) and "fluorides" to fluoride-containing compounds, both organic and inorganic.

Fluorine is never found by itself in nature but fluorides are found everywhere: in soil, air, and water, as well as in plant and animal life.

Fluoride is commonly added to tap water, particularly in North America, and used in dental products to help prevent tooth decay.

Fluorides are important industrial chemicals with a number of uses but the largest uses are for the production of aluminium and specialty chemicals used for refrigeration and air conditioning through fluorocarbons, for drinking-water fluoridation and for the manufacture of fluoridated dental preparations.

In excessive amounts, fluoride can lead to fluorosis.

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Foetus

The embryo is referred to as a foetus after it has reached a certain stage of organ development (in humans this is eight weeks after conception). (Source: CSIRO Glossary of terms  )

Forestomach (in rats)

One of the two parts of the rat’s stomach. The forestomach is directly connected to the oesophagus and contains no glands. It serves as a holding chamber for food and is perhaps best compared to a pouch in the oesophagus, as opposed to a true stomach.

While humans do not have a forestomach, they do have comparable tissues in the mouth and the upper part of the oesophagus. (Source: GreenFacts, based on Ratbehavior.org  )

Free radical

A free radical is an atom or molecule that is highly reactive because it contains an unpaired electron in the outer shell.

Free radicals are formed as necessary intermediates in a variety of normal biochemical reactions, but can damage important cellular molecules such as DNA or lipids.

Radicals can have positive, negative or neutral charge. (Source: GreenFacts)

Genes

The functional and physical unit of heredity passed from parent to offspring. Genes are pieces of DNA, and most genes contain the information for making a specific protein. (Source: NHGRI Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms  )

Gum retraction

Condition in which the gum line recedes away from the tooth causing the root surface to be exposed. (Source: GreenFacts)

Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a highly reactive chemical containing the elements hydrogen and oxygen.

Its structural formula is:

Hydrogen peroxide structural formula

Pure hydrogen peroxide is a colourless liquid, but it is sold on the market as solutions in water, containing up to 33 – 37% pure hydrogen peroxide and other additives to stop the product decomposing.

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In vitro

In an artificial environment outside a living organism or body. For example, some toxicity testing is done on cell cultures or slices of tissue grown in the laboratory, rather than on a living animal. (Source: ATSDR Glossary of Terms  )

In vivo

Within a living organism or body. For example, some toxicity testing is done on whole animals, such as rats or mice. (Source: ATSDR Glossary of Terms  )

Inflammation

Inflammation is the reaction of living tissues to infection, irritation or other injury. (Source: GreenFacts)

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LD50

The amount of a chemical that is lethal to one-half (50%) of the experimental animals exposed to it.

LD50s are usually expressed as the weight of the chemical per unit of body weight (mg/kg).

It may be fed (oral LD50), applied to the skin (dermal LD50), or administered in the form of vapors (inhalation LD50). (Source: University of Guelph  )

Lowest Observed Adverse Effect Level

The lowest tested dose of a substance that has been reported to cause harmful (adverse) health effects on people or animals. (Source: ATSDR glossary  )

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Lymphatic system

The tissues and organs that produce, store, and carry white blood cells that fight infections and other diseases.

This system includes the bone marrow, spleen, thymus, lymph nodes [small glands found along the vessels of the lymphatic system that filter out bacteria and other toxins, as well as cancer cells], and lymphatic vessels (a network of thin tubes that carry lymph and white blood cells). Lymphatic vessels branch, like blood vessels, into all the tissues of the body. (Source: NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms  )

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Molecule

A molecule is the smallest part of any chemical compound composed of two or more atoms and which has the qualities of that substance and can exist alone in a free state. As an example, a molecule of water (H2O) consists of two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen. (Source: GreenFacts, based on Helios Glossary   )

No Observed Adverse Effect Level

The highest tested dose of a substance that has been reported to have no harmful (adverse) health effects on people or animals. (Source: ATSDR Glossary of Terms   )

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Organic

The term organic has different meanings (depending on the context):

In chemistry, "organic" refers to a chemical compound based on a hydrocarbon, i.e. a chain or a ring of carbon atoms onto which hydrogen atoms are bonded.

In agriculture, "organic" refers to a production system that excludes or limits the use of chemicals

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Population

A group or number of people living within a specified area or sharing similar characteristics (such as occupation or age). (Source: ATSDR Glossary of Terms  )

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Scientific Committee on Consumer Products

The Scientific Committee on Consumer Products (SCCP) was set up in 2004 by the European Commission to provide the Commission with unambiguous scientific advice on the safety of consumer products (non-food products intended for the consumer). It replaced the former Scientific Committee on Cosmetic Products and Non-Food Products (SCCNFP).

The SCCP's advice is intended to enable risk managers to take the adequate and required actions in order to guarantee consumer protection.

The SCCP addresses questions in relation to the safety and allergenic properties of cosmetic products and ingredients with respect to their impact on consumer health, toys, textiles, clothing, personal care products, domestic products such as detergents, and consumer services such as tattooing.

The SCCP consists of a maximum of 19 members. There is also a reserve list made up of candidates found suitable for a position in a Scientific Committee but not appointed. The members of the SCCP are appointed on the basis of their skills and experience in the fields in question, and consistent with this a geographical distribution that reflects the diversity of scientific problems and approaches in the European Union (EU). The experts' term of office is three years and is renewable for a maximum of three consecutive times. In agreement with the Commission, the Scientific Committees may turn to specialised external experts.

The SCCP complies with the principles of independence, transparency and confidentiality. The members therefore make a declaration of commitment to act in the public interest and a declaration of interests; requests for opinions, agendas, minutes and opinions are published; work and publications are done with regard to the need for commercial confidentiality.

By the end of 2006 the SCCP had adopted close to 100 opinions or position papers on topics such as fragrances, hair dies, consumer products, preservatives, UV filters, and other substances. (Source: SCCP website )

Sensitization

In the context of allergies, sensitization is the process by which a person becomes, over time, increasingly allergic to a substance (sensitiser) through repeated exposure to that substance (Source: GreenFacts)

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Soluble

A substance is soluble if it dissolves in certain fluids. The fluid [gas or liquid] (present in excess) is called the solvent and the substance dissolved in it is called the solute which together form a solution. The process of dissolving is called solvation. A solution that can not hold any more solute is said to be saturated. (Source: GreenFacts )

Standard IARC classification

Compounds or physical factors assessed by IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) are classified in four groups based on the existing scientific evidence for carcinogenicity.

Group 1: "Carcinogenic to humans" There is enough evidence to conclude that it can cause cancer in humans.
IARC definition and list of compounds

Group 2A: "Probably carcinogenic to humans" There is strong evidence that it can cause cancer in humans, but at present it is not conclusive.
IARC definition and list of compounds

Group 2B: "Possibly carcinogenic to humans" There is some evidence that it can cause cancer in humans but at present it is far from conclusive.
IARC definition and list of compounds

Group 3: "Unclassifiable as to carcinogenicity in humans" There is no evidence at present that it causes cancer in humans.
IARC definition and list of compounds

Group 4: "Probably not carcinogenic to humans" There is strong evidence that it does not cause cancer in humans.
IARC definition and compound listed

Standard IARC classification categorization descriptions

Group 1: "The agent (mixture) is carcinogenic to humans . The exposure circumstance entails exposures that are carcinogenic to humans."

"This category is used when there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in humans. Exceptionally, an agent (mixture) may be placed in this category when evidence of carcinogenicity in humans is less than sufficient but there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals and strong evidence in exposed humans that the agent (mixture) acts through a relevant mechanism of carcinogenicity."

Examples include asbestos, benzene and ionizing radiation.
List of agents evaluated as group 1 to date. 

Group 2 (A and B): "This category includes agents, mixtures and exposure circumstances for which, at one extreme, the degree of evidence of carcinogenicity in humans is almost sufficient, as well as those for which, at the other extreme, there are no human data but for which there is evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals. Agents, mixtures and exposure circumstances are assigned to either group 2A (probably carcinogenic to humans) or group 2B (possibly carcinogenic to humans) on the basis of epidemiological and experimental evidence of carcinogenicity and other relevant data."

Group 2A: "The agent (mixture) is probably carcinogenic to humans . The exposure circumstance entails exposures that are probably carcinogenic to humans."

"This category is used when there is limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans and sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals. In some cases, an agent (mixture) may be classified in this category when there is inadequate evidence of carcinogenicity in humans and sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals and strong evidence that the carcinogenesis is mediated by a mechanism that also operates in humans. Exceptionally, an agent, mixture or exposure circumstance may be classified in this category solely on the basis of limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans."

Examples include diesel engine exhaust, Formaldehyde and PCBs.
List of agents evaluated as group 2A to date. 

Group 2B: "The agent (mixture) is possibly carcinogenic to humans. "

"The exposure circumstance entails exposures that are possibly carcinogenic to humans.

This category is used for agents, mixtures and exposure circumstances for which there is limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans and less than sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals. It may also be used when there is inadequate evidence of carcinogenicity in humans but there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals. In some instances, an agent, mixture or exposure circumstance for which there is inadequate evidence of carcinogenicity in humans but limited evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals together with supporting evidence from other relevant data may be placed in this group."

Examples include glass wool, styrene and gasoline exhaust.
List of agents evaluated as group 2B to date. 

Group 3: "The agent (mixture) is unclassifiable as to carcinogenicity in humans. "

"This category is used most commonly for agents, mixtures and exposure circumstances for which the evidence of carcinogenicity is inadequate in humans and inadequate or limited in experimental animals. Exceptionally, agents (mixtures) for which the evidence of carcinogenicity is inadequate in humans but sufficient in experimental animals may be placed in this category when there is strong evidence that the mechanism of carcinogenicity in experimental animals does not operate in humans.

Agents, mixtures and exposure circumstances that do not fall into any other group are also placed in this category."

Examples include anthracene, caffeine and fluorescent lighting.
List of agents evaluated as group 3 to date. 

Group 4: "The agent (mixture) is probably not carcinogenic to humans."

"This category is used for agents or mixtures for which there is evidence suggesting lack of carcinogenicity in humans and in experimental animals. In some instances, agents or mixtures for which there is inadequate evidence of carcinogenicity in humans but evidence suggesting lack of carcinogenicity in experimental animals, consistently and strongly supported by a broad range of other relevant data, may be classified in this group."

The only agent in that group is: Caprolactam (see Group 4 to date ) (Source: IUPAC Glossary of Terms Used in Toxicology Classification of carcinogenicity  )

Standard IARC degrees of evidence of carcinogenicity

which are the basis for the Standard IARC Classification

Carcinogenicity in humans

Sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity:

The Working Group considers that a causal relationship has been established between exposure to the agent, mixture or exposure circumstance and human cancer. That is, a positive relationship has been observed between the exposure and cancer in studies in which chance, bias and confounding could be ruled out with reasonable confidence.

Limited evidence of carcinogenicity:

A positive association has been observed between exposure to the agent, mixture or exposure circumstance and cancer for which a causal interpretation is considered by the Working Group to be credible, but chance, bias or confounding could not be ruled out with reasonable confidence.

Inadequate evidence of carcinogenicity:

The available studies are of insufficient quality, consistency or statistical power to permit a conclusion regarding the presence or absence of a causal association between exposure and cancer, or no data on cancer in humans are available.

Evidence suggesting lack of carcinogenicity:

There are several adequate studies covering the full range of levels of exposure that human beings are known to encounter, which are mutually consistent in not showing a positive association between exposure to the agent, mixture or exposure circumstance and any studied cancer at any observed level of exposure. A conclusion of 'evidence suggesting lack of carcinogenicity' is inevitably limited to the cancer sites, conditions and levels of exposure and length of observation covered by the available studies. In addition, the possibility of a very small risk at the levels of exposure studied can never be excluded.

In some instances, the above categories may be used to classify the degree of evidence related to carcinogenicity in specific organs or tissues.

Carcinogenicity in experimental animals

Sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity:

The Working Group considers that a causal relationship has been established between the agent or mixture and an increased incidence of malignant neoplasms or of an appropriate combination of benign and malignant neoplasms in (a) two or more species of animals or (b) in two or more independent studies in one species carried out at different times or in different laboratories or under different protocols.

Exceptionally, a single study in one species might be considered to provide sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity when malignant neoplasms occur to an unusual degree with regard to incidence, site, type of tumour or age at onset.

Limited evidence of carcinogenicity:

The data suggest a carcinogenic effect but are limited for making a definitive evaluation because, e.g. (a) the evidence of carcinogenicity is restricted to a single experiment; or (b) there are unresolved questions regarding the adequacy of the design, conduct or interpretation of the study; or (c) the agent or mixture increases the incidence only of benign neoplasms or lesions of uncertain neoplastic potential, or of certain neoplasms which may occur spontaneously in high incidences in certain strains.

Inadequate evidence of carcinogenicity:

The studies cannot be interpreted as showing either the presence or absence of a carcinogenic effect because of major qualitative or quantitative limitations, or no data on cancer in experimental animals are available.

Evidence suggesting lack of carcinogenicity:

Adequate studies involving at least two species are available which show that, within the limits of the tests used, the agent or mixture is not carcinogenic. A conclusion of evidence suggesting lack of carcinogenicity is inevitably limited to the species, tumour sites and levels of exposure studied. (Source: IARC Preamble to the IARC Monographs  )

Tissue

A group of cells joined to perform a set of functions. (Source: GreenFacts)

Toxic

Able to poison or harm an organism. Toxic substances can cause adverse health effects. (Source: GreenFacts)

Toxicity

The capacity or property of a substance to cause adverse effects. (Source: GreenFacts)

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Tumour

An abnormal mass of tissue resulting from uncontrolled and excessive cell division.

Tumours can be either benign (localised, without the invasion of other tissues) or malignant (showing progressive invasion of other tissues). (Source: GreenFacts)

Ulceration

The process of ulcer formation. (Source: GreenFacts)

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Urea

Organic compound of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and hydrogen highly soluble in water.

In mammals, urea is also a waste product of digested protein normally filtered out by the kidneys and excreted from the body in urine.

The main commercial use of urea is as a fertilizer but it has many other industrial uses. For instance, it can serve as the raw material for the manufacture of other chemicals, and as an ingredient in cosmetics. (Source: GreenFacts)

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Vulnerability (in health science)

The likelihood of being unusually severely affected by a substance either as a result of susceptibility to the effects of these substances or as a result of a greater than average [exposure]. (Source: WHO Europe  Answers to follow-up questions from CAFE )


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