Open Menu Close Menu Open Search Close Search

The OSHA Lab Safety Standard (29 CFR § 1910.1450) specifically mandates that labs develop safety plans or SOPs for handling “Particularly Hazardous Substances” (PHS) or high hazard chemicals, which OSHA defines as Select Carcinogens, Reproductive Toxins, Acute Toxins and chemicals with a high hazard physical property. The chemical registration process was developed to assist PI’s and lab managers in creating these plans when using these chemicals in vitro (in the laboratory) or in vivo (in animals).

The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) has been adopted by OSHA as a means for identifying PHS items.  GHS information is found in the Hazard Identification Section (Section 2) of the Safety Data Sheet (SDS).

Note:  Antibiotics used to treat animal infections, anesthetics and analgesics do not have to be reported as a high hazard chemical.

The attending Veterinarian or core facility manager can also set criteria for their facility.

The following chemicals are considered high hazardous chemicals due to the potential health effects;

  • Reproductive Toxins & mutagens
  • Highly Acutely Toxic Chemicals or Hazardous Drugs
  • Novel Compounds of Unknown Toxicity
  • Reactive Chemicals Which Pose a Physical Risk
  • 25 OSHA Regulated Chemicals
  • Select Carcinogens

Reproductive ToxinsChemicals which effect human reproductive capability because of chromosomal damage (mutagenic) or because of an adverse effect on the developing fetus (teratogenic). This includes the list below and any GHS Category 1A or 1B for reproductive toxicity.

The following document lists reproductive toxins:

Mutagens: OSHA defines mutagens as agents that give rise to an increased occurrence of mutations (permanent changes in the amount or structure of genetical material in a cell) in populations of cells, microorganisms, or organisms.  Mutagens with a GHS category of 1A or 1B are considered High Hazard Chemicals/PHS.

Highly Acutely Toxic Chemicals or Hazardous Drugs:  Chemicals known to be highly acutely toxic in humans or in comparable animal models as follows:

  • Chemicals with an oral median lethal dose (LD50 oral-rat) of 50 mg/kg or less. This includes chemicals that are GHS Category 1 and 2 Toxic by Ingestion
  • Chemicals with a skin contact median lethal dose (LD50 skin-rabbit) of 200 mg/kg or less. Includes chemicals in GHS Category 1 and 2 Toxic by Skin Adsorption.
  • Chemicals with an inhalation toxicity (LC50-rat) of 200 ppm or 2 mg/L or less in 1 hour. For GHS this includes the following:
    • Chemicals that are GHS Category 1 and some 2 Toxic by inhalation Gases
    • Chemicals that are GHS Category 1 and 2 Toxic by Inhalation Vapors

Novel Compounds of Unknown ToxicityChemicals which have not been tested for toxicity in any animal or other accepted testing protocol for assessing toxic effects and which by their structure are likely to be toxic, carcinogenic, mutagenic or teratogenic.

Reactive Chemicals Which Pose a Physical Risk (explosive, pyrophoric):

  • Chemicals that fall into one or more of the following GHS categories
    1. Explosives; substance which is in itself capable by chemical reaction of producing gas at such a temperature, pressure and speed to cause damage to the surroundings.
    2. Self-Reactive; thermally unstable substance liable to undergo a strong exothermic decomposition.
    3. Pyrophoric; air reactive chemicals that will ignite spontaneously in air.
    4. Self-Heating: reacts with oxygen, in air, and generates heat. After an induction time, this may lead to self-ignition and combustion.
    5. Water reactive; chemicals which, in contact with water, emit flammable gases.


  • Shock-sensitive, high energy compounds and compounds that readily form potentially explosive mixtures or vapors.

25 OSHA Regulated Chemicals: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has specific chemical regulations on 13 carcinogens and 12 toxic chemicals.

Select Carcinogens: A select carcinogen is any chemical that appears on the most current version of the following lists:

  • Chemicals regulated by OSHA as a carcinogen. This includes GHS Category 1 or Category 2 Carcinogenicity.
  • Chemical known to be carcinogenic (Group 1) by the National Toxicity Program (NTP)
  • Chemicals listed as carcinogenic to humans by the International Agency on Research on Cancer (IARC)
  • Chemicals listed as reasonably anticipated to be carcinogenic by the NTP or the IARC (Groups 2A and 2B)

The following document list select carcinogens:

What chemicals must be reported on the High Hazard Chemical Registration Form?

Chemicals being used or proposed to be used at Tufts University are evaluated by Tufts Environmental Health and Safety (TEHS) for high hazard criteria. Click Here for the chemicals that have been evaluated by TEHS.  All of the chemicals on this list are hazardous in some way, yet this list is not all-inclusive.  If a chemical you use is not on this list, it does not mean that it is not a high hazard chemical.  Please see criteria listed above.

Click here to download the High Hazard Chemical Registration Form.

Back to Chemical Safety.