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HowtoreadaChemicalLabel

Hazardousmaterialsshouldalwaysbeproperlylabeled.OnecommontypeoflabelistheUSNationalFire
ProtectionAssociation(NFPA)system.
Althoughtheylookrathersimplistic,anNFPAlabelcarriesalotofinformationforthosewhounderstandhow
tointerpretit.Forexample,NFPAlabelsarecolorcoded.Eachcoloronthelabelrepresentsadifferenttypeof
hazard.
Example
Blue=Healthhazard
Red=Firehazard
Yellow=Reactivityhazard
White=Specialhazard

Whatthesecolorsrepresentmustberememberedfirst.
Ontopofthecolorcoding.NFPAalsousesanumberingsystem.OneveryNFPAlabel,thereshouldbea
numberfromzerotofourinsidetheblue,redandyellowareas.Thenumbersindicatethedegreeofaparticular
hazard.
0= minimalhazard 3= serioushazard
1= slighthazard
4= severehazard
2= moderatehazard

TheBlueSectionHealthRisks
Thesubstanceisaseverehealthriskifthesubstanceisnothandledsafely.Substancescarryingafourin
thebluesectioncouldccausedeathorirreversibleinjury.

Thesubstancecouldcauseserioustemporaryorirreversibleinjury.

Thesubstancecouldcausetemporaryincapacitation.

Thesubstancecouldcauseirritation

Thereisnohealthhazard.

TheRedSectionFirerisks
4

Aflammablevapororgaswhichburnsreadily.

Aflammableliquidorsolidwhichcanbereadilyignited.

Thesubstancemustbeheatedforignition.

Thesubstancemustbepreheatedbeforeignitioncanoccur.

Thereisnofirehazard.

TheYellowSectionReactivityHazards
4

Thesubstanceisreadilycapableofdetonationorexplosivereaction.

Thesubstancemaydetonatewhenexposedtoheatoranignitionsource.

Thesubstanceisreadilycapableofnonexplosivereaction.

Thesubstancemaybecomeunstableathightemperatures.

Thesubstanceisstable

TheWhiteSectionSpecialHazards
OX

Oxidizer

ACID

Acid

ALK

Alkali

COR

Corrosive
Usenowater

Radioactive

Regardlessofthenumbersonthelabeleveniftheycarryonesorzerosbecautious.Allchemicalsshouldbe
treatedwiththeutmostofcare.
UsersmustalsohavetheMaterialSafetyDataSheets(MSDS)onhandforallchemicalstheyuse.TheMSDSs
containdetailinformationon:
Name&tradenameofthesubstance
Hazardousingredient(s)itcontains
Physicalcharacteristicsofthechemical
Protectiveequipmenttobeused
Whattodoineventofaleakofspill
Anyotherprecautionstobefollowed