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Existing Chemical FAQs

How can a chemical be considered safe when it is classified as a hazardous substance?

Even though a chemical may be classified as hazardous under the ASCC Approved Criteria for Classifying Hazardous Substances, and may be listed in the List of Designated Hazardous Substances [ASCC: 10005(1999)] when it is present as an ingredient in a mixture it may not be present in concentrations that cause health effects. The criteria for classifying ingredients in mixtures, and for classifying mixtures as a whole, are contained in the Approved Criteria and involve determination of concentration cut-off levels. It should be noted that concentration cut-offs levels are designed to provide a practical level of protection.

It is also important to note that even though a chemical or chemical mixture may be classified as hazardous under the Approved Criteria, it is most often possible to use or handle the chemical in a safe manner provided that appropriate control measures are in place to either prevent or minimise exposure to the chemical or chemical mixture. Under the National Model Regulations and National Code of Practice for the Control of Workplace Hazardous Substances employers using hazardous substances in the workplace have a responsibility to ensure that a suitable and sufficient assessment of risk to workers is made of any work involving potential exposure to a hazardous substance, and to ensure appropriate controls are in place.

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