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Glossary

Select a letter to view the glossary:  

 

A

ACGIH
American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists is an organization of professional personnel in governmental agencies or educational institutions engaged in occupational safety and health programs. ACGIH establishes recommended occupational exposure limits for chemical substances and physical agents. See TLV.

Acid
Any chemical that undergoes dissociation in water with the formation of hydrogen ions. Acids have a sour taste and may cause severe skin burns. Acids turn litmus paper red and have pH values of 0 to 6.

Acute Effect
Adverse effect on a human or animal that has severe symptoms developing rapidly and coming quickly to a crisis.

Acute Toxicity
Acute effects resulting from a single dose of, or exposure to, a substance. Ordinarily used to denote effects in experimental animals.

Adenocarcinoma
A tumor with glandular (secreting) elements.

Adenosis
Any disease of a gland.

Adhesion
A union of two surfaces that are normally separate.

Aeroso
A fine aerial suspension of particles sufficiently small in size to confer some degree of stability from sedimentation (e.g., smoke or fog).

Air-Line Respirator
A respirator that is connected to a compressed breathable air source by a hose of small inside diameter. The air is delivered continuously or intermittently in a sufficient volume to meet the wearer's breathing requirements.

Air-Purifying Respirator
A respirator that uses chemicals to remove specific gases and vapors from the air or that uses a mechanical filter to remove particulate matter. An air-purifying respirator must be used when there is sufficient oxygen to sustain life and the air contaminant level is below the concentration limits of the device.

Alkali
Any chemical substance that forms soluble soaps with fatty acids. Alkalis are also referred to as bases. They may cause severe burns to the skin. Alkalis turn litmus paper blue and have pH values from 8 to 14.

Allergic Reaction
An abnormal physiological response to chemical or physical stimuli.

Amenorrhea
Absence of menstruation.

Anesthetic
A chemical that causes a total or partial loss of sensation. Overexposure to anesthetics can cause impaired judgment, dizziness, drowsiness, headache, unconsciousness, and even death. Examples include alcohol, paint remover, and degreasers.

ANSI
American National Standards Institute is a privately funded, voluntary membership organization that identifies industrial and public needs for national consensus standards and coordinates development of such standards.

Antidote
A remedy to relieve, prevent, or counteract the effects of a poison.

API
American Petroleum Institute is a organization of the petroleum industry.

Appearance
A description of a substance at normal room temperature and normal atmospheric conditions. Appearance includes the color, size, and consistency of a material.

Aquatic Toxicity
The adverse effects to marine life that result from being exposed to a toxic substance.

Asphyxiant
A vapor or gas that can cause unconsciousness or death by suffocation (lack of oxygen). Most simple asphyxiants are harmful to the body only when they become so concentrated that they reduce oxygen in the air (normally about 21 percent) to dangerous levels (18 percent or lower). Asphyxiation is one of the principal potential hazards of working in confined and enclosed spaces.

ASTM
American Society for Testing and Materials is the world's largest source of voluntary consensus standards for materials, products, systems, and services. ASTM is a resource for sampling and testing methods, health and safety aspects of materials, safe performance guidelines, effects of physical and biological agents and chemicals.

Asymptomatic
Showing no symptoms.

Atm
Atmosphere, a unit of pressure equal to 760 mmHg (mercury) at sea level.

Atmosphere-Supplying Respirator
A respirator that provides breathable air from a source independent of the surrounding atmosphere. There are two types: air-line and self-contained breathing apparatus.

Auto-Ignition Temperature
The temperature to which a closed, or nearly closed container must be heated in order that the flammable liquid, when introduced into the container, will ignite spontaneously or burn.

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