Hazardous Chemical Information System (HCIS)



Reference Information

CAS Number

A Chemical Abstract Service Registry Number (CAS Number) is assigned to a single chemical by the Chemical Abstract Service in the United States. The CAS number serves as a unique identifier of the chemical. Some mixtures are also assigned a CAS Number.

Chemical name

The chemical name may be a systematic name, the common name or a generic name. Typically the name in this field is the same name used by the agency who undertook the classification.

Synonyms

Often a chemical has multiple names, these other names are referred to as ‘synonyms’. The listing of synonyms for a substance is not necessarily exhaustive.

GHS Hazard Category

The GHS hazard categories represent the known hazards of the chemical. The assessment of chemical hazards is carried out by expert authorities in accordance with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling (GHS), which includes defined criteria for each hazard.

Many chemicals have not been assessed for all hazard categories. The classification information may not be comprehensive and is subject to change.

For more information on chemical classification please see the Classifying Workplace Hazardous Chemicals page.

Pictograms

Pictograms are symbols used to quickly identify a chemical’s hazards. There are nine pictograms in the GHS.

Under Australian Work Health and Safety laws, pictograms are required on the labels of hazardous chemicals used in the workplace.

GHS01 – Exploding bomb

Explosion, blast or projection hazard.

Pictogram of Exploding bomb

GHS02 – Flame

Flammable liquids, solids and gases; including self-heating and self-igniting substances.

Pictogram of Flame

GHS03 – Flame over circle

Oxidising liquids, solids and gases, may cause or intensify fire.

Pictogram of Flame over circle

GHS04 – Gas cylinder

Gases under pressure.

Pictogram of Gas cylinder

GHS05 – Corrosion

Corrosive chemicals, may cause severe skin and eye damage and may be corrosive to metals.

Pictogram of Corrosion

GHS06 – Skull and crossbones

Fatal or toxic if swallowed, inhaled or in contact with skin.

Pictogram of Skull and crossbones

GHS07 – Exclamation mark

Low level toxicity. This includes respiratory, skin, and eye irritation, skin sensitisers and chemicals harmful if swallowed, inhaled or in contact with skin.

Pictogram of Exclamation mark

GHS08 – Health Hazard

Chronic health hazards; this includes aspiratory and respiratory hazards, carcinogenicity, mutagenicity and reproductive toxicity.

Pictogram of Health Hazard

GHS09 – Environment

Hazardous to aquatic life and the environment.

Pictogram of Environment

Signal Words

The GHS uses ‘Danger’ and ‘Warning’ as signal words to indicate the relative level of severity of a hazard. ‘Danger’ is used for the more severe or a significant hazard, while ‘Warning’ is used for the less severe hazards

Hazard Statements

A hazard statement is a description of a chemical hazard assigned to a particular hazard category. As well as providing a brief description of the hazard, the hazard statement may contain information such as relevant routes of exposure, specific organs that may be damaged and the severity of the hazard.

A full list of hazard statements can be found in Annex 3 to the GHS. Safe Work Australia also publishes a classification and labelling poster which includes hazard statements and other labelling elements for those hazard categories adopted in the model Work Health and Safety Regulations.

Hazard Statement Code

The GHS assigns each hazard statement a hazard statement code. These codes provide an easy way to communicate hazard statements when the full statement text is not required.

A full list of hazard statement codes can be found in Annex 3 to the GHS. Safe Work Australia also publishes a classification and labelling poster which includes hazard statement codes and other labelling elements for those hazard categories adopted in the model Work Health and Safety Regulations.

Cut Off Concentrations

Cut off concentrations are used to estimate the hazards of chemical mixtures. They set out the concentration to which an ingredient needs to be diluted before it is considered non-hazardous or becomes part of a lower hazard category. They are easy to use, but should not be relied on for complex mixtures or where other data is available.

There are two types of concentration cut offs, generic cut offs and specific cut offs.

Generic cut offs are found in the GHS and the model WHS regulations. These cut offs are not specific to any particular chemical and can be applied to any ingredient that has the relevant hazard. Generic cut offs should not be used where specific cut offs or test data exits.

Specific cut offs are based on test data. They are specific to certain chemicals but are more accurate than generic cut offs. Specific cut offs will be listed in the ‘concentration cut off’ section of a chemicals entry.

The generic GHS cut off concentrations adopted in Australia are listed in the table below. The concentration limits apply to solids and liquids (w/w units) and gases (v/v units). This table is intended for use with simple dilutions, for complex mixtures please refer to the GHS 3rd edition text.

Classification of Ingredient Classification of Dilution
Class Category Concentration of Hazardous Chemical
Acute toxicity All categories See section 3.1.3 of the GHS 3rd edition
Skin corrosion / irritation Category 1 Concentration ≥ 5%: skin corrosion category 1; eye damage category 1
3% ≤ concentration < 5%: skin corrosion category 2; eye damage category 1
1% ≤ concentration < 3%: skin corrosion category 2; eye damage category 2A
Category 2 Concentration ≥ 10%: category 2
Serious eye damage / eye irritation Category 1 Concentration ≥ 3%: category 1
1% ≤ concentration < 3%: category 2
Sub-category 2/2A Concentration ≥ 10%: category 2
Sensitisation of the respiratory tract or the skin* Respiratory sensitiser category 1 Concentration ≥ 1%: category 1, (≥ 0.2% for gas mixtures)
Respiratory sensitiser sub-category 1A Concentration ≥ 0·1%: sub-category 1A
Respiratory sensitiser sub-category 1B Concentration ≥ 1%: sub-category 1B (≥ 0.2% for gas mixtures)
Skin sensitiser category 1 Concentration ≥ 1%: category 1
Skin sensitiser sub-category 1A Concentration ≥ 0·1%: sub-category 1A
Skin sensitiser sub-category 1B Concentration ≥ 1%: sub-category 1B
Germ cell mutagenicity Category 1 Concentration ≥ 0·1%: category 1
Category 2 Concentration ≥ 1%: category 2
Carcinogenicity* Category 1 Concentration ≥ 0·1%: category 1
Category 2 Concentration ≥ 1%: category 2
Reproductive toxicity* Category 1 Concentration ≥ 0·3%: category 1
Category 2 Concentration ≥ 3%: category 2
Additional category for effects on or via lactation Concentration ≥ 0·3%: effects on or via lactation
Specific target organ toxicity (single exposure) Category 1* Concentration ≥ 10%: category 1
1% ≤ concentration < 10%: category 2
Category 2* Concentration ≥ 10%: category 2
Category 3 Concentration ≥ 20%: category 3 (see GHS 3.8.3.4.5)
Specific target organ toxicity (repeated exposure)* Category 1 Concentration ≥ 10%: category 1
1% ≤ concentration < 10%: category 2
Category 2 Concentration ≥ 10%: category 2
Aspiration hazard Category 1 ≥10%, and kinematic viscosity ≤20.5mm2/s (see GHS 3.10.3.3): category 1

* Cut off concentrations for these classes and categories are taken from the model Work Health and Safety regulations. All other cut offs are taken from the GHS 3rd revised edition.

Notes

The note field provides additional information about the chemical or hazard classification. Notes are usually provided by the agency that prepared the classification; they may include information such as specific labelling considerations for the chemical or common impurities that should be considered when making the hazard classification.

Source

The source field contains the names of the organisations that contributed to the classification or exposure standard. Sometimes more than one name may be listed, this happens when more than one organisation contributes to the classification (such as when one organisation undertakes a health hazard assessment, and another undertakes a physical or environmental hazard assessment).

Exposure Standard Name

The exposure standard name may be a systematic name, the common name or a generic name. Typically the name in this field is that used by the agency that developed the exposure standard.

The following notations may also be included in the exposure standard name.

Notation Meaning
(a) This value is for inspirable dust containing no asbestos and < 1% crystalline silica.
(b) Fibres longer than 5 µm, width less than 3 µm and with an aspect ratio of not less than 3:1, as measured by the membrane filter method, at 400-650X magnification phase contrast illumination.
(c) Lint free dust as measured by the vertical elutriator õ cotton dust sampler described in the Transactions of the National Conference on Cotton Dust and Health 1970, North Carolina University Press, Chapel Hill, pp. 33-43, 1971.
(d) For a few substances, usually the more potent probable and established human carcinogens, it is not currently possible to assign an appropriate exposure standard. For these substances, exposure should be controlled to the lowest practicable level.
(e) The Exposure Standards Expert Working Group has recommended guidelines to control short-term excursions above the TWA. The guidelines have been developed based on the toxicokinetic properties of carbon monoxide. A guidance table for the control of short-term excursions above the TWA is available in table 9 of the documentation for carbon monoxide.
(f) For the three substances marked with this footnote (Benomyl, Caprolactam vapour, and Sodium azide), the exposure standards are established as gravimetric (mg/m3) values and converted into volumetric values.
(g) Containing no asbestos and < 1% crystalline silica.
(h) Documentation for the substances with this notation can be found in the 5th or 6th edition of the ACGIH documentation of the threshold limit values and biological exposure indices.

Time Weighted Average (TWA)

Time weighted average exposure standard (TWA) means the average airborne concentration of a substance over an eight-hour working day, for a five-day working week. A person conducting a business or undertaking must ensure that a worker is not exposed to airborne contaminants above the workplace exposure standard.

The TWA columns may also contain the peak limitation. Peak limitation means a maximum or peak airborne concentration of a substance determined over the shortest analytically practicable period of time.

The TWA and peak limitation may be measured in either parts of contaminant per million parts of air (PPM) or milligrams of contaminant per cubic meters or air (mg/m3).

For more information refer to Guidance on the Interpretation of Workplace Exposure Standards for Airborne Contaminants

Short Term Exposure Limit (STEL)

Short term exposure limit (STEL) means the average airborne concentration of a substance calculated over a 15 minute period. The STEL should not be exceeded at any time during a normal eight hour working day.

The STEL may be measured in either parts of contaminant per million parts of air (PPM) or milligrams of contaminant per cubic meters or air (mg/m3).

For more information refer to Guidance on the Interpretation of Workplace Exposure Standards for Airborne Contaminants.

Documentation

Some exposure standards have supporting documentation that provides background information, recommendations for control measures and further reading.