Skip to main content

Acute and chronic health hazards

Toxic (poisonous) and infectious substances are those liable to cause death or injury if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through skin contact. Within UN class 6 there are two divisions:

Division 6.1 toxic substances: a poisonous material, other than a UN Class 2.3 gas, known to be so toxic to humans that it presents a health hazard during transportation.

 

Thumbnail
Image 101 Division 6.1 Toxic substances

Division 6.2 infectious substances – a material known to contain or suspected of containing a pathogen. A pathogen is a virus, microorganism or proteinaceous infectious particle (prion) that has the potential to cause disease in humans or animals.

Thumbnail
image 102 Division 6.2 Infectious substances

Table 40 below shows the five GHS categories of acute health effects or acute toxicity. Each is based on the severity of the toxic substance, based on their lethal dose (LD50) values. These are:

 

Table 41 GHS categories of acute health effects or acute toxicity
Category  Ingestion (mg/kg bodyweight) Absorbtion (mg/kg bodyweight) Inhalation (parts per million - ppm 4 - hour exposure) Symbol
Category 1 5 or less 50 or less 100 or less
Thumbnail
Category 2 50 or less 200 or less 500 or less
Thumbnail
Category 3 300 or less 1000 or less 2500 or less
Thumbnail
Category 4  2000 or less  2000 or less  20000 or less 
Thumbnail
Category 5  Substances that have relatively low toxicity but could present a danger to vulnerable populations.

Chronic health effects warnings are only communicated through the CLP label for the majority of materials. The transport classification and labelling systems do not include classifications for chronic hazards;, therefore only acute health effects are considered. Materials that cause chronic effects can only be identified through the CLP labelling.

Chronic hazards are divided into several categories.

Mutagens

A mutagen is a substance or agent that is capable of altering genetic material in a living cell. This increases the frequency of mutations, which can lead to health effects for the person who has been exposed. It is also possible that the effect can be passed through to the next generation.

Labelling

Table 42 below shows the CLP regulated labelling, for products that have mutagenic properties and are placed on the market:

Table 42 CLP regulated labelling for mutagenic products
Classification Pictogram Signal word Hazard statement
Mutagen category 1A or 1B
Thumbnail
Danger H340: may cause genetic defects
Mutagen category 2
Thumbnail
Warning H341: suspected of causing genetic defects

Carcinogens

Carcinogens are defined as materials that cause cancer or increase its incidence.

Labelling

Table 43 below shows the CLP regulated labelling, for products that have carcinogenic properties and are placed on the market:

Table 43 CLP regulated labelling for carcinogenic products
Classification Pictogram Signal word Hazard statement
Carcinogen category 1A or 1B
Thumbnail
Danger H350: may cause cancer
Carcinogen category 2
Thumbnail
Warning H351: suspected of causing cancer

Reproductive toxicity

Reproductive toxicity is split into two sub-groups:

  • Adverse effects on sexual function and fertility e.g. alterations to the male or female reproductive system
  • Adverse effects on development of the offspring; this includes effects that occur before or after birth

Labelling

Table 44 below shows the CLP regulated labelling, for products that have reproductive toxicity properties and are placed on the market:

Table 44 CLP regulated labelling for reproductive toxicity products
Classification Pictogram Signal word Hazard statement
Reproductive toxicity category 1A or 1B
Thumbnail
Danger H360: may damage fertility or the unborn child
Reproductive toxity category 2
Thumbnail
Warning H361: suspected of damaging fertility or the unborn child 

Specific target organ toxicity – single exposure

This is a specific, non-lethal, target organ effect following a single exposure to a material. All significant effects that can impair function (both reversible and irreversible, immediate and/or delayed), which are not covered in other classification groups, are included in this classification.

Labelling

Table 45 below shows the CLP regulated labelling, for products that have specific target organ toxicity properties from a single exposure and are placed on the market:

Table 45 CLP regulated labelling for specific target organ toxicity (single exposure) products
Classification Pictogram Signal word Hazard statement 
Specific target organ toxicity category 1
Thumbnail
Danger H370: Cause damage to organs
Specific target organ toxicity category 2
Thumbnail
Warning H371:  May cause damage to organs
Specific target organ toxicity category 3
Thumbnail
Warning

H335: May cause respiratory irritation; 

Or

H336: May cause drowsiness or dizziness

Specific target organ toxicity – repeated exposure

This is a specific, non-lethal, target organ effect following repeated exposure to a material. All significant effects that can impair function (both reversible and irreversible, immediate and/or delayed), which are not covered in other classification groups, are included in this classification.

Labelling

Table 46 below shows the CLP regulated labelling, for products that have specific target organ toxicity properties from repeated exposure and are placed on the market:

Table 46 CLP regulated labelling for specific target organ toxicity (repeated exposure) products
       
Specific target organ toxicity category 1
Thumbnail
Danger H372 - causes damage to organs through prolonged or repeated exposures
Specific target organ toxicity category 2
Thumbnail
Warning H373 - may cause damage to organs through prolonged or repeated exposure