ChEmiCal hazard
Overview . 121
Organization of the chemical hazard information table . 124 Overview
Many chemicals have minimal hazards, making them relatively safe to use. Others pose inherent
risks and require specific precautions. Still, other chemicals must be handled with such extreme care that they are not practical or safe for school usage. This chapter provides a link to information on hazards for nearly 600 chemicals to help teachers, schools and divisions select and safely use chemicals. Schools and jurisdictions may use this information as a starting point for reviewing chemicals currently on its shelves (particularly where chemicals have accumulated over the years), and reassessing the scope and contents of chemical inventories.
The information in this chapter includes numeric ratings for health, flammability and reactivity, plus supplementary comments on the scope and severity of hazards. It also includes WHMIS and storage classifications, as well as transportation hazard classes and disposal methods. This information has been compiled from the most reliable and accurate sources available at the time inclusion of a chemical in the link listing does not signal appropriateness for school use,
but is provided as preliminary information on potential concerns. Given the nature and severity of hazards involved, some of the chemicals listed are designated as not appropriate for use in schools due to safety considerations. Readers are advised to consult MSDS sheets and other current sources of more detailed information before using any of the chemicals listed in the link. Omission from this list is also not an indication of safety.
it remains the responsibility of school jurisdictions and
individual teachers to use this information carefully and
cautiously and assume responsibility for the consequences
of using this information. if one recalls the information in
Chapter 1, due diligence is an important factor of science
safety. Teachers and divisions must be aware that their
choices make them liable for the health and safety of
other staff and students should an incident take place.
reactive nature of chemicals
Chemicals can be grouped according to their chemical properties and general behaviour on
exposure to other substances or environmental conditions. The following table provides information on types of reactive chemicals, which can be useful when designing a chemical storage scheme or deciding whether or not a chemical should be stocked for classroom use.
chapter 9 | Chemical Hazard Information
reactive Nature
of Chemical
Notable Characteristics
handling and Storing
acid sensitive
Chemical Hazard Information | chapter 9
reactive Nature
of Chemical
Notable Characteristics
handling and Storing
Water sensitive Strong acids
Substances that react with Isolate from other reactive Oxidation-
rapid oxidation or reduction and other potentially sensitive
* These chemicals are not recommended for schools because of their reactive nature.
chapter 9 | Chemical Hazard Information
Organization of the chemical hazard information table
The link to the Chemical Hazard Information Table in this chapter provides information to assist
teachers and schools in deciding what chemicals to stock and use. The table lists hazard ratings for almost 600 chemicals, including a number of substances that have been used in schools in the past and have serious risks associated with their use. It also provides additional information necessary for safe storage and disposal of chemicals.
The absence of chemicals from the table does not
imply that they are safe. Other sources should be
consulted for information on these chemicals.
The Chemical Hazard Information Table is organized with the following column headings: 1. Chemical Abstract Service (CAS) Number.
2. Chemical name(s), state and formula.
3. Appropriateness for school use.
4. Hazard ratings and comments for health, flammability and reactivity.
5. WHMIS hazard classes.
6. Chemical storage classes.
7. TDG hazard classes, and8. Chemical disposal methods.
The content of each section, as well as the codes and conventions used in the table, CaS number
The Albertan Chemical Hazard Information Table has been updated to include CAS numbers. The CAS number is a unique identifier for a chemical and has been included to compliment OHS Act, 1993 and OHS Regulations, 1996 information. One chemical can be called a number of names depending on what naming system is used. The CAS number is a unique identifier for that one chemical which can be called a number of different names. For example, benzene (CAS 71-43-2) can be called Coal naphtha, Benzol, Phenyl hydride and more. The CAS number makes it easier to find a particular chemical and it makes data base searches more convenient. The CAS number is also a good way to verify the info in the table is for the chemical in your laboratory, as CAS numbers are included on labels of chemicals purchased from chemical supply companies. Chemical name(s), state and formula
In addition to CAS numbers, the table lists chemicals alphabetically using names conforming to
those of IUPAC and the Merck Index. Where an alternative name is acceptable, the substance will appear in the table under both names. The state or form of the substance is included since it implies Chemical Hazard Information | chapter 9
concentration — a factor that must be known if the hazard levels are to be meaningful. The formula is provided as a means to cross-reference the names of substances, ensuring that the name used for a specific substance actually correlates with the correct substance by formula.
appropriateness for school use
To assist teachers, schools and districts in making safe choices, the chemicals listed in the table
have been grouped into one of three categories, based on their relative safety. The hazards of a chemical tend to increase with its concentration. Keeping this in mind, it should be noted that some chemicals in the table are rated in the “B” or “C” category in concentrated form, but may be rated in the “A” or “B” category in the diluted form. Many acids and bases are rated in this way. For example: Hydrochloric acid [HCl (aq)].
Category a – Chemicals appropriate for use in schools under controlled conditions of use.
Chemicals in this category are ones for which the risks can be managed if used in limited quantities
and concentrations, in controlled situations and following safe procedures. Use of these chemicals should take into account the maturity and skills of the students, the knowledge and skills of the teacher, and the needs of the curriculum.
Category B – Chemicals not appropriate for student use in schools except in middle years
and secondary science courses under highly controlled conditions of use.
This category of chemicals is not appropriate for use by students in elementary science, but may be appropriate for use in middle years and secondary science courses when used in limited quantities under close, competent supervision in appropriate facilities. If these chemicals are used, keep quantities and concentrations to a minimum, instruct students in safe use procedures, and ensure waste storage and disposal have been addressed. These chemicals may be appropriate for demonstration purposes in elementary schools by teachers with appropriate knowledge and skills.
Category C – Chemicals not appropriate for student use.
Chemicals placed in this category pose significant safety risks in one or more hazard categories
(health, flammability or reactivity), making them dangerous to use unless major precautions are taken. Conditions required for safe use by students exceed what can be consistently and reliably provided by schools. Some chemicals in this category may be used for demonstration purposes by well qualified secondary school teachers following a thorough risk assessment.
Category d – Chemicals not recommended for school use by teachers or students because
For quick reference, category D chemicals have been itemized in alphabetical order in appendix 16.
chapter 9 | Chemical Hazard Information
Hazard rating and comments for health, flammability and reactivity
Hazard ratings given in the Chemical Hazard Information Table are based on the NFpA
Hazchem Code, which is also used by most large North American chemical suppliers. This hazard identification system attaches numerical values to hazard levels for health, flammability and reactivity of a chemical. Each hazard category is rated on a scale of 0 to 4 (low to high). In addition, a special precautionary symbol may be used where necessary. In most cases, the hazard ratings given are for the pure form of the chemical.
The hazard ratings for each chemical listed in the chart are based on information from multiple sources. Sources used in compiling the ratings were primarily the MSDSs provided by major supply companies. In many cases the ratings found in these MSDSs showed different values for the same chemical, which reflected different interpretations of the hazards involved. For example, it appears that in determining health ratings, some companies factor in the effects of prolonged and chronic exposure whereas others do not. In case of disagreements between sources, a further assessment was made of the information available before determining the rating given in the chart. To assist the user, additional information on the specific nature of the hazards posed by each chemical is The health ratings given in the chart, (as derived from MSDSs), focus primarily on short-term health effects. Information available on long-term effects – including carcinogenicity – is in many cases limited. More recent information may become available over time and will be reflected in In general, chemicals with a rating of three or four in one or more categories, but especially in health, are classified as inappropriate for student use. There are some exceptions to this rule, particularly in cases where the risks can be substantially reduced by using the substance in a less concentrated form, as is in the case with solutions. In general, powdered or pure forms of carcinogenic substances or chemicals that produce toxic substances when they react will be identified as not appropriate for student use and in a number of cases will be identified as not appropriate for school use at all.
v Note: The information in the chart is provided primarily to assist schools in
determining what chemicals are appropriate for use. after the chemicals have
been acquired, school staff should consult the mSdS for more detailed
information before using any of the chemicals.
Sample N.f.P.a hazchem Code

1 = health
2 = flammability
3 = reactivity
4 = Special
v Note: The colour coding is often not consistent among manufacturers. Some omit
Chemical Hazard Information | chapter 9
Following are the three categories and 5-point rating scale used in the NFpA. Hazchem codes are described in the Hazard Rating Chart below.
health (blue)
flammability (red)
reactivity (yellow)
chapter 9 | Chemical Hazard Information
Special Notice (white)
v Note: See for further information on the NFpA rating system.
WhmiS hazard classes
The Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System categorizes controlled substances
into 6 classes and provides symbols for each of these. The classes are: Division 1: Material causing immediate and serious toxic effects Division 2: Material causing other toxic effects Division 3: Biohazardous infectious material E. Corrosive MaterialsF. Dangerously Reactive Materials This column of the Chemical Hazard Information Table shows which of these classes each chemical falls into. Substances that are not controlled are identified as NC on the table.
For more information about WHMIS, refer to Chapters 1, 4 and 8.
Chemical storage classes
The chemical classes assigned in this section of the table and outlined below are useful in devising
a scheme for the safe storage of chemical groups in laboratories or chemical storage rooms. In some cases, a chemical may fall into more than one class. In such instances, flammability is the primary overriding property for storage classification.
Chemical Category and Symbol
Chemical Hazard Information | chapter 9
Chemical storage classes were discussed in some detail in Chapter 8 as an important aspect
TdG hazard classes
The classes and divisions of chemicals defined by TDG regulations are important for a number
of reasons, including the classification of chemical waste when preparing for disposal pick-up. The hazard classes are numbered 1 to 9. Certain classes are further subdivided into numbered divisions. A waste’s classification is stated as the class number followed by a point and the division number. For example, a classification of 4.3 means that the waste is categorized as The table below briefly summarizes the nine classes and types of hazards involved. Refer to Part III of the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992 and Regulations for specifics about the criteria and procedures needed to determine hazardous waste classes, divisions and packing groups.
Class 1 – Explosives Explosives are classified into 6 divisions according to sensitivity
Note: This class of compounds is not recommended for school use.
Class 2 – Gases
Class 2 substances can be a gas, a mixture of gases, a mixture of gases with one or more vapours of substances included in other classes, an article charged with a gas, an aerosol or tellurium These substances fall into one of three divisions: Class 3 –
This class includes liquids (or liquids containing solids in solution or flammable solids
suspension) that have a flashpoint less or equal to 60.5°C, or liquids that are intended or expected to be at a temperature that is greater than or equal to their flashpoint at any time while the substance Class 4 –
flammable liquids
4.2 Substances liable to spontaneous combustion.
4.3 Substances which on contact with water emit dangerous chapter 9 | Chemical Hazard Information
Class 5 – Oxidizing
Substances and
Organic Peroxides
Class 6 – Toxic
and infectious
Class 7 – radioactive This class includes radioactive materials with an activity greater
Class 8 – Corrosive
1. Cause full thickness destruction of human skin; for example, lesions that are permanent and destroy all layers of the outer skin.
2. Exhibit a corrosion rate that exceeds 6.25 mm/year Class 9 –
This includes any substance that does not meet the criteria for miscellaneous
inclusion in classes 1 to 8 and contains one or more of the following: Products,
a) Genetically modified micro-organisms that may endanger or Organisms
c) Material to be transported at high temperatures.
d) Material that releases toxic substances through leaching, or e) Environmentally hazardous substances.
Chemical disposal methods
The appropriate disposal methods for various chemicals depend on a number of factors, and must
meet federal, provincial, territorial and local regulations. The Chemical Hazard Information Table uses the following symbols to indicate disposal methods for each chemical.
Chemical Hazard Information | chapter 9
disposal methods
Substances identified as controlled/hazardous products must be disposed of through a waste facility by federal/provincial law. Non-regulated chemical waste may be disposed via a waste Dilute acids and bases containing no regulated constituents (pH of 5.5 to 10) and non-hazardous, non-controlled salts can be disposed of this way.
Local metal and plastic recycle depots.
Follow neutralization/precipitation procedure and dispose of non-toxic by-products in trash (T) Containers with remaining substance can be Dry, non-controlled, non-hazardous wastes.
“Controlled products” are substances that fall into one or more of the WHMIS hazard classes. These include compressed gases, oxidizing materials and substances that are poisonous, infectious, flammable, combustible, corrosive or dangerously reactive. There is no master list of controlled products; however, any product with a hazard warning could be a controlled product.
To reproduce the chemical hazard information table, go to: This information was current as of the 2006 Albertan publication.
v Note: One should become familiar with the background information to the chemical
hazard information table before proceeding to the table for specific chemical details. The information within this table (aside from the CAS numbers) has not been changed chapter 9 | Chemical Hazard Information


CORTISOL/DHEA REFERENCES: Marin P. Cortisol secretion in relation to body fat distribution in obese premenopausal women. Metabolism 1992;41:882-886. Nestler JE, Clore JN, Blackard WG. Dehydroepiandrosterone: (DHEA) the missing link between hyperinsulinemia and atherosclerosis? Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology 1992;6(12):3073-3075. Shafagoj Y, Opoku J, Qureshi D

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