Health and Safety


Hazardous Properties

Chemical substances may be present in solid, liquid or gaseous form and may exhibit one or more of the following hazardous properties.

Hazardous Property



Toxic Chemicals that at very low levels cause damage to health.
  • Acrylamide
  • Cyanide
Respiratory Sensitiser  
  • Animal allergen
  • Latex
  • Isocyanates
Carcinogenic Chemicals that may cause cancer or increase its incidence.
  • Methyl nitroso urea
  • Formaldehyde
Mutagenic Chemicals that induce heritable genetic defects or increase their incidence.
  • Ethidium bromide
Substance Toxic to Reproduction Chemicals that produce or increase the incidence of non-heritable effects in progeny and/or an impairment in reproductive functions or capacity.
  • Halothane
  • Ethylene oxide
Harmful Chemicals that may cause damage to health.
  • Bleach
Irritant Chemicals that may cause inflammation to the skin or other mucous membranes.
  • Ammonia
Corrosive Chemicals that may destroy living tissue on contact.
  • Strong acids and bases
Explosive Chemicals that explode.
  • Hexane
  • Hydrogen
Oxidising Chemicals that react exothermically with other chemicals.
  • Hydrogen peroxide
Flammable Chemicals that have low flash points and may catch fire on contact with air or ignition source.
  • Di-ethyl ether
  • Acetone
  • Alcohols
Dangerous to Environment Chemicals that may present an immediate or delayed danger to one or more components of the environment.
  • Mercury

Before carrying out any process or task involving the use of a chemical substance the line manager or principal investigator must ensure that a risk assessment is carried out to identify the hazardous properties associated with the substance and whether in the circumstances of use they could cause harm to health or infrastructure. Where harm could arise then control measures must be implemented to ensure that risks are reduced.

Classification, Labelling and Packaging of Hazardous Substances and Mixtures PDF format

Useful information about a chemical's properties and the level of harm it can cause are gained from the Safety Data Sheet (all manufacturer's must produce, many available on-line) and the labelling. Labelling is now consistent nationwide as the Global Harmonisation standard is in place. More information is available on this subject, including the standard symbols and safety statements (precautionary and hazard statements).


Health and Safety Department

Pharmacy Building (Building 63)
University Park
University of Nottingham
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

Telephone: Telephone: +44 (0)115 9513401
Email: h&