Hazardous Substance

Definition - What does Hazardous Substance mean?

A hazardous substance refers to any material that has the intrinsic nature of being toxic, explosive, prone to ignite, radioactive, corrosive or otherwise detrimental to human, animal and/or environmental health. Specific hazardous substances may be defined by government rules and regulations.

Corrosionpedia explains Hazardous Substance

Hazardous substances fall into two main categories:

  1. Physical hazards. Examples of physical hazards include fire, explosion and reactive hazards. Physical hazards have a more drastic and irreversible effect in the rate of corrosion and general material wear.
  2. Health hazards. Includes hazards that cause systemic effects (e.g., corrosive, irritant, sensitizer) and hazards that cause target organ effects (e.g., hepatotoxin, nephrotoxin, neurotoxin). Health hazards have a more dramatic effect on humans and the environment.

A substance's material safety data sheet (MSDS) may be examined to determine if the substance is considered hazardous.

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