1. Education
Send to a Friend via Email

Toxic Chemicals

There is information about safety, poisons, toxins, carcinogens, testing procedures, regulations. Learn how to recognize hazardous substances and avoid laboratory accidents. Links to toxic chemical journals and software are included.
  1. Chemical Weapons & Warfa...

What Is a Toxic Chemical?
You've heard that toxic chemicals are bad for you, but what exactly is a toxic chemical? Here's an explanation of what is meant by the term "toxic chemical" as well as examples of common toxic chemicals you may have in your home.

List of Poisons
This is a list or table of chemicals that can kill you. Some of these poisons are common and some are rare. Some you need in order to live, while others you should avoid at all costs.

Dangerous Household Chemicals
Many common household chemicals are dangerous. They may be reasonably safe when used as directed, yet contain toxic chemicals or degrade over time into a more dangerous chemical. Here's a list of some of the most dangerous household chemicals, including the ingredients to watch for and the nature of the risk.

Poisonous Holiday Plants
Some popular holiday plants can be poisonous or toxic, especially to children and pets. Here's a look at some of the most common poisonous holiday plants and also reassurance about plants many people think are poisonous that really aren't that dangerous.

Accidental Poisonings
There are some household chemicals you just shouldn't mix and numerous ways to accidentally poison yourself. Do you have an accidental poisoning story to share? Have you ever mixed chemicals with a disastrous result? Be sure to offer any advice that would help prevent others from repeating your mistake.See submissions

Can You Drink Hand Sanitizer?
You may have heard about people drinking hand sanitizer to get drunk or get a buzz. Is it safe? What are the effects? Here are the answers!

Oxygen Poisoning
Although we need oxygen in order to live, oxygen can be a poison. Oxygen is toxic or even lethal at high partial pressures.

Toxic Chemicals in Cosmetics
Some of the ingredients in cosmetics and personal care products are chemicals that may be hazardous to your health. Take a look at some of the ingredients to watch for and the health concerns raised by these chemicals.

Common Household Chemicals - Dangerous Mixtures
Labs have lists of chemicals that don't go together, but it isn't as easy to avoid dangerous mixtures with home chemicals because they aren't pure substances. Here's some help. Be safe and don't mix these common household chemicals.

What Is the Most Poisonous Chemical Compound?
How poisonous something is depends a lot on how it's administered and a several other factors, but this list will give you a general look at some of the most toxic substances known to man.

Toxic Elements
Here's a list of elements that are toxic or poisonous and have no known nutritional value.

Ricin Poisoning Facts
Ricin is a potent toxin extracted from castor beans (Ricinus communis). There is a lot of fear and misinformation associated with this poison. The purpose of this fact sheet is to help separate fact from fiction regarding ricin poisoning.

Chemical Weapons and Warfare Agents
Get basic information about chemical weapons and learn what you can do to protect yourself in the event of a chemical attack.

DEET Chemistry
Learn about the insect repellent called DEET. See its chemical structure, find out how it works, get information about the risks of using DEET, and find out how to reduce your need for bug spray.

Do You Add Sulfuric Acid to Water or Water to Sulfuric Acid?
It's important to add sulfuric acid to water and not water to concentrated sulfuric acid. Here's an explanation of why you don't want to make a mistake and some mnemonics that might help you remember how to play it safe in the chemistry lab.

Flame Retardant People
Learn about the health effects of polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE), a common flame retardant, and efforts to ban further use of certain forms of the chemical.

Gas Masks and Gas Attacks
This is a collection of photographs of gas masks and gas attacks. The gas attack photographs are primarily from the first world war.

How to Dispose of Mercury
Mercury is an extremely toxic metal that is found in fluorescent light bulbs, mercury thermometers, and other household items. If you break a thermometer or a mercury-containing bulb, it's important to dispose of the mercury properly so that you don't accidentally poison yourself or contaminate the area with mercury.

Incompatible Chemical Mixtures
Here's a list of chemicals that you don't want to accidentally mix, together with brief statements about the expected reactions. Use this information to avoid accidents and ensure safe storage and handling of potentially dangerous substances, both at work and at home.

Mixing Bleach and Ammonia
Mixing bleach and ammonia is extremely dangerous, since toxic vapors will be produced. The primary toxic chemical formed by the reaction is chloramine vapor, with a potential for hydrazine formation. Here's a look at the chemical reactions involved in mixing bleach and ammonia, as well as some first aid advice if you accidentally become exposed to a bleach and ammonia mixture.

Mixing Bleach and Vinegar
Mixing bleach and vinegar is a bad idea. Toxic chlorine gas is released, which essentially serves as a way to wage chemical warfare on yourself. Many people mix bleach and vinegar, knowing it's dangerous, but either underestimating the risk or else hoping for increased cleaning power. Here's what you should know about mixing bleach and vinegar,...

Poisonous Mushrooms Video Review
Can you tell the difference between a poisonous mushroom and an edible mushroom? Taylor Lockwood's video The Good, the Bad, and the Deadly explains how you can identify edible mushrooms and how to avoid the toxic fungi.

Ricin and RCA - Castor Bean Toxins
Learn about ricin and RCA, the two potent toxins from the castor bean plant. Information is provided about the action, symptoms, and treatment of ricin and RCA poisoning.

Tear Gas
Learn about what tear gas is and how it works.

Using Material Safety Data Sheets
Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) aren't just for chemists! From your About Chemistry Guide, this tutorial for the non-technical consumer defines MSDSs, describes why you should know how to use them, tells how to find them, and outlines typical uses. Links to related topics are included.

What Is Bleach and How Does It Work?
Learn what a bleach is, get examples of different types, and find out how bleach works.

What Is the Coastal Dead Zone?
The coastal dead zone makes news headlines from time to time because it's implicated in fish death and may be a consequence of global warming and pollution. Do you know what the dead zone is?

What Is the World's Most Venomous Insect?
The most venomous insect isn't some rare, exotic rain forest creature. You may have them in your own yard. Can you name guess what it is?

What Makes Lead Poisonous?
You probably know that lead is toxic, but do you know what makes it poisonous? Here's an explanation of what lead does in your body that makes it such a health hazard.

Chemical Weapons
See the chemical structures of chemical weapons and warfare agents and learn a little about their uses.

Annual Review of Pharmacology and Toxicology
Abstracts and Tables of Contents.

Carcinogenic Potency Database
Summary of animal test results for chemicals yielding carcinogenic changes in a target organ.

Chemical and Other Safety Information
Material safety data sheets (MSDS), incompatible chemicals, and hazardous materials. From University of Oxford.

Information relating to air pollution, drinking water, hazardous waste, etc. From the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Search for pesticides and other toxins.

Hazardous Chemical Database
Searches retrieve synonyms, physical data, registry numbers, etc. From University of Akron.

Injuries in School/College Laboratories
Discussion of legal liability and negligence in relation to US law. From Ronald B. Standler.

Laboratory Survival Manual
Chemical incompatibilities, first aid, safety practices. From University of Virginia.

Information concerning Material Safety Data Sheets including databases, manufacturers, and software.

Safe Drinking Water Query Form
From US EPA. Search the US for violators of the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Search for profiles on mass-produced chemicals in the US, and receive a wealth of information concerning toxicity and regulations. From the Environmental Defense Fund.

Detailed solvent database from National Center for Manufacturing Sciences.

Suburban Water Testing Labs
Factsheets concerning contaminants present in drinking water and recommended testing methods.

US Nuclear Regulatory Commission
News and requirements for registering, handling, and disposing of radioactive materials.

An MSDS archive. Also, a good index of graphics depicting safe science. From Vermont Safety Information on the Internet.

How to Remove Fluoride Video
See how to remove fluoride from drinking water. This video also explains which methods will not remove fluoride from water and lists common sources of fluoride.

How Sarin Gas Works
Sarin is an organophosphate nerve agent or nerve gas. Here's a look at how it works and how exposure to Sarin is treated.

Are E-Cigarettes Safe? - Health Hazards of Electronic Cigarettes
Learn about the health risks associated with electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes.

Fact or Fiction? -- Breathing Fumes from a Portable Chemical Toilet Can Kill You
Rumor has it that breathing fumes from a portable chemical toilet can kill you. Here's the truth of the matter, based on science.

You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.