Hazardous Substance

Published: | Updated: September 30, 2018

Definition - What does Hazardous Substance mean?

A hazardous substance is any substance that has one or more of the following inherent hazardous properties:

  • Flammability
  • Explosiveness
  • Toxicity
  • Ability to oxidize
  • Capacity to develop any of the above properties on contact with air or water.

Hazardous substances have the capacity to cause significant adverse effects to the environment, or to humans. They can be radioactive or an irritant. Handling, transporting or working with them can lead to a substantial personal injury or illness. These adverse effects can occur during or as a proximate result of any handling or use, including inhalation or skin contact.

Safeopedia explains Hazardous Substance

A hazardous substance can be any item or agent—of biological, chemical, radiological, or physical nature—that causes harm to humans, animals, or the environment. This can be the result of its interaction with other factors or its own properties.

Hazardous substances should be handled only by responsible individuals who are properly qualified to manage such materials. These substances are regulated by laws and regulations administered by the American Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Federal Department of Transportation (DOT), and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) of the United States. Each regulatory body's definition of "hazardous materials" differs.

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