CONTROL OF TOXIC SUBSTANCES
a. Hazards in the work environment can be purely mechanical in nature, or they
may occur in the form of materials or substances, which are capable of causing fire or
explosion, or of producing injury or illness by inhalation, by contact with the skin or eyes,
or by ingestion. Physical forms of energy such as noise, ionizing and non-ionizing
radiation, and heat can also be health hazards. This lesson deals specifically with the
subject of toxic substances in the industrial workplace, the effects of these substances
on the human body, and measures that can be employed to protect workers from them.
As you read this lesson, you should periodically refer to Appendix B, which contains a
list of typical operations found on Army installations, the health hazards associated with
the individual operations, and the control instituted to reduce or eliminate the hazards.
b. Basic to the control of an industrial health hazard is the recognition and
evaluation of the hazard. Once the hazard has been identified, and its severity
determined measures for its control can be developed. Once this is done, it then
becomes a matter of instituting appropriate control measures and monitoring their
CLASSIFICATION OF CHEMICAL HAZARDS
a. There are over l00, 000 chemicals used in industrial operations in this country
today. Several of them have been identified as cancer causing agents, or carcinogens.
Hundreds of them are known to destroy body organs, or to cause extreme irritation
leading to reduced or total non-effectiveness of workers. Still others are in use whose
effects on the body are unknown, or about which very little is known. In this lesson we
will concern ourselves with known effects such as toxicity and skin contamination.
Appendix C contains a partial list of potentially hazardous substances found on Army
b. Chemicals that may create potential hazards may be classified according to
their physical states or characteristics. Some occur as gases, vapors, mists, dusts, or
fumes that may be breathed with the air. Others are solids or liquids that may be
absorbed through the skin or ingested (taken in through the mouth). It is important to
understand these physical states in which toxic materials may occur, since the hazard
associated with their use often depends upon this factor.