Dose-Response. A Complicated Relationship?

In All, General, Risk Bite Video, Science Bits by Keri Szejda


The body’s response to different doses of a chemical has an astonishingly wide range. The response can be as benign as no response or as severe as death – with a lot in-between!

Last week, we started up our toxicology primer with a Risk Bites video on hazard and risk. In order for a hazard – something with the potential to cause harm –  to become a real-life risk, there’s got to be some sort of exposure. The amount of that exposure, including how it gets into your body and where it goes – the dose – determines your body’s response.

In its simplest form, increasing the dose results in a gradual increase in the severity of the response. But in reality, this dose-response relationship can be more complicated. Sometimes, a gradual increase in dose can result in a sudden jump from a small to a large effect, or even from a beneficial to a harmful effect.

Understanding this relationship though can help determine when using something is likely to be safe, and when it’s not.

Want to learn more? Geek out on the science of risk with this video from Risk Bites.