It is generally thought that senescence in mammals is accompanied by an overall decline in functional integrity of the organism and its ability to adapt to various environmental challenges. A considerable body of evidence has shown that in both human and laboratory animals, advancing age produces a number of significant alterations in the heart and circulatory hemodynamics. These include cardiac hypertrophy, alterations in heart rate and contraction duration, loss of arterial wall elasticity, elevated blood pressure and altered responsivity to a host of physiologic and pharmacologic stimuli. Because of these findings, a fundamental issue of concern arises as to whether the cardiovascular system of an elderly individual is at an increased risk to toxic insults derived from drugs and hazardous environmental compounds. The report addresses this particular issue and provides an overview of the current research findings.