Glossary of Terms

Action Level: A concentration designated in the OSHA (29 CFR) part 1910 (or in the absence of an action level, the PEL) for which a specific substance, calculated as an eight-hour time-weight average, which initiates certain required activities such as exposure monitoring and medical surveillance.

ANSI: American National Standard Institute

CAS: Chemical Abstract Service

CDC: Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Chemical Hygiene Officer: The Chemical Hygiene Officer is an employee who is designed by the employer, and who is qualified by training or experience, to provide technical guidance in the development and implementation of the Chemical Hygiene Plan.

Corrosive Chemical: A chemical that produces destruction of skin tissue, namely, visible necrosis through the epidermis and into the dermis, in at least 1 of 3 tested animals after exposure up to a 4-hour duration. Corrosive reactions are typified by ulcers, bleeding, bloody scabs and, by the end of observation at 14 days, by discoloration due to blanching of the skin, complete areas of alopecia and scars.

Designated Area: An area that may be used for work with “select carcinogens”, reproductive toxins, or substances that have a high degree of toxicity. A designated area may be the entire laboratory, an area of a laboratory, or a device such as a chemical fume hood.

Developmental Toxicity: Adverse effect on the developing organism that may occur anytime from conception to sexual maturity. These effects may include spontaneous abortion, structural or functional defects, low birth weight, or effects that may appear later in life.

DOT: Department of Transportation

Embryotoxins:  Embryotoxins, by definition, toxic to embroys. Embryotoxins are agents that kill, deform, retard the growth, or adversely affect the development of specific functions in the unborn child and cause postnatal functional problems. Embroyotoxins include mercury compounds, lead compounds, and other heavy metals, and organic compounds such as formamide.

EPA: Environmental Protection Agency

Flash Point: The temperature at which a particular organic compound gives off sufficient vapor to ignite in air.

GHS: Globally Harmonized System

Hazard Communication (HazCom): HazCom is an OSHA standard for classifying chemicals to provide information on safe handling, storage, and use of hazardous chemicals, and communicating information on labels and ion safety data sheets.

Hazardous Chemical: Any chemicals which is classified as a physical hazard or a health hazard, a simple asphyxiant, combustible dust, pyrophoric gas, or hazard not otherwise classified.

Health Hazard: Any chemical that is classified as posing one of the following hazardous effects: acute toxicity (any route of exposure), skin corrosion or irritation, serious eye damage or eye irritation, respiratory or skin sensitization, germ cell mutagenicity, carcinogenicity, reproductive toxicity, specific target organ toxicity (single or repeated exposure), aspiration hazard or simple asphyxiant.

HEPA: High Efficiency Particulate Air

HMIS: Hazardous Material Information System

Laboratory: OSHA defines a laboratory as “a workplace where relatively small quantities of hazardous chemicals are used on a non-production basis.”

Laboratory Manager: A staff employee responsible for managing laboratory operations.

Laboratory Supervisor: A staff employee responsible for supervising laboratory personnel.

Laboratory Safety Contact (LSC): A staff employee designated by the Principal Investigate to be responsible for laboratory safety and acting as liaison with EHRS for EHSR related matters.

Laboratory Use of Hazardous Chemicals: the handling or use of such chemicals in which all of the following conditions are met:

  • Chemical manipulations are carried out on a “laboratory scale”,
  • Multiple chemical procedures or chemicals are used,
  • The procedures involved are not part of a production process, nor in any way simulate a production process, and
  • “Protective laboratory practices and equipment” are available and in common use to minimize the potential for employee exposure to hazardous chemicals.

Laboratory Workers: The Laboratory Workers referred to in the Lab Standard are employees. OSHA defines an employee as “an individual employees in a laboratory workplace who may be exposed to hazardous chemicals in the course of his or her assignments.” An example of a Laboratory Worker would be a university teaching assistant, research assistant, or faculty members instructing an academic lab. OSHA does not consider students in academic laboratory classes to be workers. However, instructors are expected to ensure that students in academic laboratory classes adhere to the principles of the program. Also included are visiting professors and volunteers that might be working in a laboratory. Thus, Laboratory Supervisors must ensure that these groups that are in their laboratories are adequately instructed in safe laboratory procedures.

Lower Explosive limit (LEL): The LEL is the minimum concentration (percent by volume) of the fuel in the air at which a flame is propagated when an ignition source is present.

Mutagens: Agents that cause change in the genetic material (DNA) of an organism and therefor increases the frequency of mutations above the natural background level. These mutations are passed along as the cell divides sometimes leading to defective cells or cancer. Because mutagens may cause cancer, mutagens are typically also carcinogens. Not all mutations are caused by mutagens. Spontaneous mutations occur due to error in DNA replication, repair, and recombination. Chemical mutagens include substances such as ethidium bromide used as a stain for DNA analysis.

NFPA: National Fire Protection Association

NIOSH: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

OSHA: Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Oxidizer: A chemical, other than a blasting agent or explosive as defined in 29 CFR 1910.109(s), that initiates or promotes combustion in other materials, thereby causing fire either of itself or through the release of oxygen or other gases.

Particularly Hazardous Chemicals/Substances: Chemicals that are a select carcinogen, a reproductive toxin, or a chemical having a high degree of acute toxicity. Personnel may only handle “particularly hazardous substances” in a containment (i.e., chemical fume hood or glove box) or a closed system (e.g., instrument plumbing, syringe, gavage, cannula, etc.). There must be an area designed for use by posting signs or barrier and there must be procedures for decontamination of the tools and area after use and provisions for waste removal.

Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL):  PELs are the regulatory limit or maximum concentration of a substance in the air that personnel can be exposed to without personal protective equipment or engineering controls (such as a chemical fume hood). These chemicals may also have a “skin designation” that prohibits skin contact.

Physical Hazard: Any chemical which is classified as posing on of the following hazardous effects: explosives, flammable (gasses, aerosols, liquids, or solids), oxidizers (liquid, solid, or gas), self-reactive, pyrophoric (gas, liquid, or solid), self-heating, organic peroxides, chemicals corrosive to metal, gases under pressure, water reactives that emit flammable gases, or combustible solids.

Principal Investigator (PI): The lead scientist that plans and/or conducts the laboratory research and assumes the overall responsibility for laboratory operations and project completion.

PPE: Personal Protective Equipment

Reproductive Toxicity: Adverse effects on the health of reproductive organs, endocrine system, or gametes (egg or sperm) from exposure to an exogenous agent. This exposure may result in effects such as menstrual dysfunction, impaired fertility, feminization/masculinization, or inability to maintain a pregnancy.

Reproductive Toxin: Any hazardous substance that damages reproductive organs and can cause sterility or birth defects. The OSHA definition of reproductive toxins are chemicals that cause ‘adverse effects on sexual function and fertility in adult males and females, as well as adverse effects on development of the offspring.” 

RTECS: Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances

SADT: Self-Accelerating Decomposition Temperature

SDS(s): Safety Data Sheet(s)

Select Carcinogen: Any substance which meets one of the following criteria: it is regulated by OSHA as a carcinogen, it is listed under the category “known to be carcinogens” in the Annual Report on Carcinogens published by the National Toxicity Program (NTP) (latest edition), it is listed under Group 1 (“carcinogen to humans’) by the International Agency for Research on Cancer Monographs (IARC) (latest editions), or it is listed in either Group 2A or 2B by IARS under the category “ reasonably anticipated to be carcinogens” by NTP and causes statistically significant tumor incidence in experimental animals in accordance with any of the following criteria: after inhalation exposure of six to seven hours per day five days per week for a significant portion of a lifetime to dosages of less than 10 mg/m3, after repeated skin application of less than 300 mg/kg of body weight per week, or after oral dosages of less than 50 mg/kg of body weight per day.

SOP(s): Standard Operating Procedure (s)

Teratogens: Agents that can disturb or cause a malformation in the development of an embryo or fetus. Teratogens may cause a birth defect int eh child or cause termination of the pregnancy.

UL: Underwriters Laboratories

UV: Ultraviolet