Is there an adjective for low-toxicity, or can it be used as an adjective itself?

It sounds strange to say, for example, materials that are low-toxicity.

  • How toxic are these materials? A little bit toxic? Somewhat toxic? Slightly toxic? Barely toxic? Marginally toxic? Theoretically toxic? Nominally toxic? Nearly non-toxic?
    – tchrist
    Jan 17, 2019 at 12:48
  • 1
    ... that are of low toxicity.
    – Lawrence
    Jan 18, 2019 at 16:27

1 Answer 1


Low-toxic is the adjective of low-toxicity.

If you were asking whether there is a separate word for low-toxic, I am quite sure there is not because there is not a word even for non-toxic. Of course, depending on the context you could say for example "the substance is pure/harmless" when it is non-toxic, but neither pure nor harmless means non-toxic explicitly. So, it is perfectly ok to talk about low-toxic materials when the toxicity of the materials is low.

  • According to Google Scholar, "low-toxicity" is used in 20× as many scientific articles as "low-toxic". Jan 18, 2019 at 4:03
  • @Chemomechanics So? Toxicity is a noun. Toxic is an adjective. The question was about the adjective of low-toxicity, not the frequency of the usage. So, if there is low-toxicity then low-toxic is the adjective of it. Perhaps you interpreted wrongly when I said "it is perfectly ok to talk about low-toxic materials..." By this I just meant that low-toxic is technically a valid word, not that it would be a preferred way of talking about it.
    – Malakias
    Jan 21, 2019 at 18:14

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.