The tissue residue dose concept has been used, although in a limited manner, in environmental toxicology for more than 100 y. This review outlines the history of this approach and the technical background for organic chemicals and metals. Although the toxicity of both can be explained in tissue residue terms, the relationship between external exposure concentration, body and/or tissues dose surrogates, and the effective internal dose at the sites of toxic action tends to be more complex for metals. Various issues and current limitations related to research and regulatory applications are also examined. It is clear that the tissue residue approach (TRA) should be an integral component in future efforts to enhance the generation, understanding, and utility of toxicity testing data, both in the laboratory and in the field. To accomplish these goals, several key areas need to be addressed: 1) development of a risk-based interpretive framework linking toxicology and ecology at multiple levels of biological organization and incorporating organism-based dose metrics; 2) a broadly applicable, generally accepted classification scheme for modes/mechanisms of toxic action with explicit consideration of residue information to improve both single chemical and mixture toxicity data interpretation and regulatory risk assessment; 3) toxicity testing protocols updated to ensure collection of adequate residue information, along with toxicokinetics and toxicodynamics information, based on explicitly defined toxicological models accompanied by toxicological model validation; 4) continued development of residueeffect databases is needed ensure their ongoing utility; and 5) regulatory guidance incorporating residue-based testing and interpretation approaches, essential in various jurisdictions. ??:2010 SETAC.