8 common examples of HAZMAT products

spill kit

When most people think of hazardous materials, they envision barrels of colorful liquids being hauled around on trucks. However, there are many common products (both in the residential and commercial spaces) that can fall under the HAZMAT umbrella.

To drive this point home, let’s break down how HAZMAT products are classified, as well as a few common examples of HAZMAT products that can present serious safety hazards if not handled correctly. 

How are HAZMAT products classified?

A HAZMAT product is any product that poses a health or safety hazard. Hazardous materials are classified by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) into one of nine classes, based on the type of hazard they present. The nine DOT hazard classes are as follows:

• Class 1: Explosives 

• Class 2: Gases 

• Class 3: Flammable and Combustible Liquids 

• Class 4: Flammable Solids 

• Class 5: Oxidizers and Organic Peroxides 

• Class 6: Poisonous (Toxic) and Infectious Substances 

• Class 7: Radioactive Materials 

• Class 8: Corrosives 

• Class 9: Miscellaneous Hazardous Materials 

Hazardous materials are further divided into divisions and packing groups within each class. The division indicates the degree of danger posed by the material, while the packing group indicates the level of precautions needed when handling the material. 

For example, a hazardous material in Division 1.1 would be categorized as a substance that is an immediate danger to life and health, while a hazardous material in Division 1.3 would be a substance that poses a moderate risk to life and health. Products that fall under the classification of HAZMAT products must be labeled accordingly so that people know how to properly handle them.

Keep Reading: Your guide to HAZMAT spills

Examples of HAZMAT products

Hazmat products are classified according to their degree of hazard; some pose more serious risks than others. The most dangerous HAZMAT products are those that are, explosive, flammable, corrosive, or poisonous. These products should be handled with extreme caution and only by trained personnel. 

That being said, there are a variety of HAZMAT products – with certain products being more everyday than others. Let’s break down a few varying examples of HAZMAT products.

1. Nail Polish Remover 

Most people may not realize it, but nail polish is actually classified as a hazardous material. This is because many common formulas contain chemicals that can be harmful if ingested or inhaled. In fact, nail polish remover itself can release potentially dangerous fumes and should always be used in a well-ventilated area. One reason it is important to dispose of nail polish properly, whether at home or in a salon, is to prevent these chemicals from contaminating the water supply. It’s also crucial to keep them out of reach of children who may mistakenly ingest them. By taking the necessary precautions with nail polish remover and disposing of expired or unused bottles properly, we can protect ourselves and our environment from harmful chemicals.

2. Swimming Pool Chemicals  

Chlorine and other swimming pool chemicals are used to keep the water clean and free of bacteria. However, these chemicals can be very dangerous if they are not used correctly. Swimming pool chemicals can cause serious skin and eye irritation and respiratory problems if inhaled.

3. Cleaning Supplies 

Many cleaning supplies contain harsh chemicals that can be harmful if used incorrectly. For example, oven cleaners often contain lye, which is a caustic substance that can cause burns if it comes into contact with skin. Drain cleaners often contain sulfuric acid, which is also very corrosive and can cause serious burns if splashed on the skin or inhaled. It is important to use cleaning supplies only as directed and to avoid skin contact or inhalation whenever possible.

4. Pesticides 

Pesticides are designed to kill pests such as insects, rodents, and fungi. However, many of these pesticides can also be harmful to humans if they are not used correctly. Pesticides can cause serious health problems such as respiratory problems, nervous system damage, and cancer if they are inhaled or ingested. It is important to read the label carefully before using any pesticide and to follow the instructions for safe use.

Keep Reading: What is a HAZMAT situation?

5. Lithium Batteries 

Lithium batteries are classified as hazardous materials due to their flammability and potential to overheat. In certain conditions, these batteries can catch fire or even explode. This hazard is exacerbated when lithium batteries are not disposed of properly and end up in landfills where they can come into contact with other materials that could cause a reaction. Another concern is the release of toxic chemicals contained in the lithium battery, which can pollute the environment and harm local wildlife. Overall, it’s important to handle lithium batteries with caution and dispose of them responsibly to prevent potentially dangerous consequences.

6. Paint Thinners & Strippers

Paint thinners and strippers, commonly found in hardware stores, contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can cause respiratory irritation and damage to the nervous system. In fact, they are classified as HAZMAT products and require special handling during transport and storage. Before using these products, make sure to carefully follow the instructions on proper ventilation and protective gear. And remember, never pour excess paint thinner or stripper down the drain – dispose of them properly at a designated HAZMAT facility to prevent contamination of water supplies. The risks are not worth cutting corners for convenience. Take the necessary precautions when dealing with paint thinners and strippers to ensure safety for yourself and the environment.

7. Adhesives

Adhesives may seem innocuous, but they can actually be quite dangerous. Many adhesives contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can have harmful effects on both the environment and human health. In addition, some adhesives, such as those used in construction, may contain hazardous chemicals like asbestos or lead. As a result, adhesives are classified as hazardous materials and must be handled with caution.

8. Ink Cartridges

Many people are unaware that their ordinary ink cartridges can actually be classified as hazardous materials. These small objects contain potentially harmful chemicals, such as heavy metals and organic compounds, and should be disposed of properly to avoid contamination of the environment. When disposing of ink cartridges, it is important to follow all local guidelines and regulations. Some office supply stores offer recycling programs for empty cartridges, or they can be taken to special hazardous waste collection centers. 

When it comes to HAZMAT products, it’s incredibly important to understand how to handle, store, and dispose of these products properly. And remember – whether you’re at home or at work – even unsuspecting, everyday items can be classified as HAZMAT. Do your research, understand your options, and protect yourself, others, and the environment in the process.