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Hazardous Chemical

Last updated: August 2, 2018

What Does Hazardous Chemical Mean?

A hazardous chemical is a chemical that has properties with the potential to do harm to human or animal health, the environment, or capable of damaging property.

The term covers, among other things:

  • Chemical dusts
  • Chemical vapors
  • Chemical smoke
  • Chemical fumes
  • Chemical mixtures
  • Solvents
  • Detergents
  • Acids
  • Alkali
  • Petroleum
  • Paints

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Safeopedia Explains Hazardous Chemical

Hazardous chemicals are frequently used in the workplace as raw materials, solvents, cleaning agents, catalysts, and for a number of other functions. These are normally classified according to the risk they pose to health and property.

Hazardous chemicals are categorized as follows:

  • Flammable or explosive (e.g. petroleum, TNT, plastic explosives)
  • Irritating or corrosive to skin, lungs, and eyes (e.g. acids, alkali, paints, fumes)
  • Toxic chemicals (e.g. carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, cyanide)

Extreme cautions are to be taken when handling, storing, transporting, and using hazardous chemicals. The user needs to wear protective clothing and personal protective equipment to protect themselves from hazardous chemicals. Depending on the chemicals, this might involve rubber gloves, safety goggles, chemical-resistant coveralls, or respirators.

Hazardous chemicals are accompanied by Safety Data Sheets (SDS) that outlines the severity of the potential risks as well as the safety measures that must be in place when handling these substances.


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