Handling, Working with Toxics and Flammable

What are flammable materials

Flammable materials are substances that can ignite easily and burn rapidly. They can be common materials that are at most work sites in gas, liquid and solid forms. Some examples of flammable materials include:

Gases– Natural gas, propane, butane, methane, acetylene, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulphide. Flammable gases are usually gases with a lower explosive limit of less than 13 percent in air, or have a flammable range in air of at least 12 percent. For example, butane is a flammable gas because its lower explosive limit in air is 20 percent. Carbon monoxide has a lower explosive limit of 13 percent and upper explosive limit of 74 percent in air, it is flammable over a range of 61 percent.

Liquids– Gasoline, many solvents such as acetone, alcohols and toluene, paints and paint thinners, adhesives, degreasers, cleaners, waxes and polishes. Flammable liquids have a flashpoint below 37.80 C (1000 F). Solids– Some types of coal, pyrophoric metals (metals that burn in contact with air or water, such as sodium and potassium) solid wastes that are soaked with flammable liquids (rags, paper, spill clean up products), gunpowder, matches.

What Is a Toxic Chemical?

You’ve heard that toxic chemicals are bad for you, but what exactly is a toxic chemical? Here’s an explanation of what is meant by the term “toxic chemical” as well as examples of common toxic chemicals you may have in your home or encounter in the environment.

EPA defines a toxic chemical as any substance which may be harmful to the environment or hazardous to your health if inhaled, ingested or absorbed through the skin.

Types of Toxins

Toxins may be categorized into four groups. It’s possible for a substance to belong to more than one group.
  • Chemical Toxicants – Chemical toxins include both inorganic substances, such as mercury and carbon monoxide, and organic compounds, such as methyl alcohol.
  • Biological Toxins – Many organisms secrete toxic compounds. Some sources consider pathogenic organisms to be toxins. A good example of a biological toxin is tetanus.
  • Physical Toxicants – These are substances that interfere with biological processes. Examples include asbestos and silica.
  • Radiation – Radiation has a toxic effect on many organisms. Examples include gamma radiation and microwaves.

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