Health hazard means a chemical for which there is statistically significant evidence based on at least one study conducted in accordance with established scientific principles that acute or chronic health effects may occur in exposed employees. 

The term "health hazard" includes (but is not limited to) chemicals which are carcinogens, toxic or highly toxic agents, reproductive toxins, irritants, corrosives, s sensitizers, hepatotoxins, nephrotoxins, neurotoxins, agents which act on the hematopoietic system, and agents which damage the lungs, skin, eyes, or mucous membranes. 

Additional Health Hazard Definition

(abridged from Appendices to the Hazard Communication Standard)

Health hazards may cause measurable changes in the body - such as decreased pulmonary function. These changes are generally indicated by the occurrence of signs and symptoms in the exposed employees - such as shortness of breath, a non-measurable, subjective feeling.

  • Acute effects usually occur rapidly as a result of short-term exposures, and are of short duration. The acute effect are typically  irritation, corrosivity, sensitization and lethal dose.

 

  • Chronic effects generally occur as a result of long-term exposure, and are of long duration.   Chronic effect is often used to cover only carcinogenicity,teratogenicity, and mutagenicity.  

 

  • Carcinogen: A chemical is considered to be a carcinogen if:(a) It has been evaluated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer(IARC), and found to be a carcinogen or potential carcinogen; or(b) It is listed as a carcinogen or potential carcinogen in the Annual Report on Carcinogens published by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) (latest edition);or,(c) It is regulated by OSHA as a carcinogen.

 

  • Corrosive: A chemical that causes visible destruction of, or irreversible alterations in, living tissue by chemical action at the site of contact. For example,a chemical is considered to be corrosive if it destroys or changes irreversibly the structure of the tissue at the site of contact following an exposure period of four hours.

 

  • Highly toxic: A chemical falling within any of the following categories:

(a) A chemical that has a median lethal dose (LD(50)) of 50 milligrams or less perkilogram of body weight when administered orally to albino rats weighing between200 and 300 grams each.

(b) A chemical that has a median lethal dose (LD(50)) of 200 milligrams or less perkilogram of body weight when administered by continuous contact for 24 hours (or less if death occurs within 24 hours) with the bare skin of albino rabbits weighing between two and three kilograms each.

(c) A chemical that has a median lethal concentration (LC(50)) in air of 200 parts per million by volume or less of gas or vapor, or 2 milligrams per liter or less of mist, fume, or dust, when administered by continuous inhalation for one hour (or less if death occurs within one hour) to albino rats weighing between 200 and 300grams each..

 

  • Irritant: A chemical, which is not corrosive, but which causes a reversible inflammatory effect on living tissue by chemical action at the site of contact.

 

  • Sensitizer: A chemical that causes a substantial proportion of exposed people or animals to develop an allergic reaction in normal tissue after repeated exposure to the chemical..

 

  • Toxic. A chemical falling within any of the following categories:

(a) A chemical that has a median lethal dose (LD(50)) of more than 50 milligrams per kilogram but not more than 500 milligrams per kilogram of body weight when administered orally to albino rats weighing between 200 and 300 grams each.

(b) A chemical that has a median lethal dose (LD(50)) of more than 200 milligrams per kilogram but not more than 1,000 milligrams per kilogram of body weight when administered by continuous contact for 24 hours (or less if death occurs within 24hours) with the bare skin of albino rabbits weighing between two and three kilograms each.

(c) A chemical that has a median lethal concentration (LC(50)) in air of more than200 parts per million but not more than 2,000 parts per million by volume of gas or vapor, or more than two milligrams per liter but not more than 20 milligrams per liter of mist, fume, or dust, when administered by continuous inhalation for one hour (or less if death occurs within one hour) to albino rats weighing between 200and 300 grams each.

 

  • Target organ effects.The following is a target organ categorization of effects which may occur,including examples of signs and symptoms and chemicals which have been found to cause such effects.

a)      Hepatotoxins: Chemicals which produce liver damage Signs & Symptoms: Jaundice; liver enlargement Chemicals: Carbon tetrachloride; nitrosamines

b)      Nephrotoxins: Chemicals which produce kidney damage Signs & Symptoms: Edema; proteinuria Chemicals: Halogenated hydrocarbons; uranium

c)       Neurotoxins: Chemicals which produce their primary toxic effects on the nervous system Signs & Symptoms: Narcosis; behavioral changes; decrease in motor functions Chemicals: Mercury; carbon disulfide

d)      Agents which act on the blood or hemato-poietic system: Decrease hemoglobin function; deprive the body tissues of oxygen Signs & Symptoms: Cyanosis; loss of consciousness Chemicals: Carbon monoxide; cyanides

e)       Agents which damage the lung: Chemicals which irritate or damage pulmonary tissue Signs & Symptoms: Cough; tightness in chest; shortness of breath Chemicals: Silica; asbestos

f)        Reproductive toxins: Chemicals which affect the reproductive capabilities including chromosomal damage (mutations) and effects on fetuses (teratogenesis) Signs & Symptoms: Birth defects; sterility Chemicals: Lead; DBCP

g)       Cutaneous hazards: Chemicals which affect the dermal layer of the body Signs & Symptoms: Defatting of the skin; rashes; irritation.  Chemicals: Ketones; chlorinated compounds

h)      Eye hazards: Chemicals which affect the eye or visual capacity Signs & Symptoms: Conjunctivitis; corneal damage Chemicals: Organic solvents; acids

 

 

Contact Information 
 Environmental Health& Safety: MSC-3578, P.O. Box 30001, Academic Research Bldg. C, Rm. 109
    Street delivery address: NMSU, 1620 Standley Dr., Academic Research Bldg. C, Las Cruces, NM 88003
    Training Office: Academic Research Unit C, rm110 (see map ), 
    Telephone: 575-646-3327; FAX: 575-646-7898. Website - http://www.nmsu.edu/safety
    Send email to David Shearer, EH&S (click here) with questions or comments about this web site. 
    This page was last updated on 09/21/2014