The effects of exposure to chemicals

The effects of exposure to chemicals

Published May 30, 2019

1 minute read

Here are some terms that explain the health effects of exposure to chemicals.

 

Term

Acute toxicity

An adverse health effect following a single exposure to a chemical (e.g. skin contact with insecticides, accidental ingestion of a chemical).

 

Carcinogen

A chemical that causes or can potentially cause cancer (e.g. breathing in asbestos fibres, skin contact with used motor oils).

Chronic toxicity

An adverse health effect following repeated exposure to a chemical, which can occur following a relatively short exposure (e.g. weeks) or longer term exposure (e.g. years). 

CMR

A chemical that is Carcinogenic, Mutagenic or Toxic to Reproduction.

 

Corrosive

A chemical that causes irreversible damage to skin, eyes or airways (e.g. strong acids and strong bases such as concentrated hydrochloric acid or concentrated hydroxides).

Irritant A

Chemical that causes reversible damage to skin, eyes or airways (e.g. detergents or soaps).

Mutagen

A chemical that can cause permanent damage to genetic material in cells, which can possibly lead to heritable genetic damage or cancer (e.g. UV rays from the sun, benzene).

Reproductive toxin

A chemical that can affect adult male or female reproductive systems, their ability to reproduce and/or that can lead to birth defects (e.g. lead or carbon monoxide).

Respiratory sensitiser

A chemical that can cause an allergic reaction in the airways following inhalation of the chemical (e.g. glutaraldehyde or isocyanate).

Skin sensitiser

A chemical that can cause an allergic reaction of the skin following skin contact (e.g. wood dust or adhesives)

 

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Author Gillian

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