Many people use the words “toxic” and “hazardous” interchangeably, but there is a big difference between the two. Toxic materials are dangerous because they can harm your health, while hazardous materials are dangerous because they can harm the environment. Learn more about the differences between these two types of materials and how to protect yourself and the planet.
What is Toxic?
Toxic substances are everywhere – in our food, our cleaning products, and even in the air, we breathe. But what exactly is a toxic substance? A toxic substance is any substance that can cause harm to an organism.
- This can be due to its physical or chemical properties. For example, lead is a toxic substance because it can damage the brain and nervous system. As another example, asbestos is a toxic substance because it can cause cancer.
- While some toxic substances are naturally occurring, others are created by human activity. For example, diesel exhaust fumes are considered to be toxic because they contain harmful chemicals that can damage our health.
- The good news is that there are ways to protect ourselves from exposure to toxic substances. For example, we can limit our exposure to them by wearing protective clothing or using filters.
We can also take steps to remove them from our environment, such as by cleaning up polluted areas. By becoming informed about the risks posed by toxic substances, we can take steps to protect ourselves and our families from their harmful effects.
What is Hazardous?
- Hazardous materials are substances that are dangerous or potentially harmful to people, animals, or the environment. Hazardous materials can be found in many forms, including liquids, solids, gases, and sludges.
- They can also be found in many products that we use every day, such as cleaning products, batteries, and pesticides. Hazardous materials can pose a serious risk if they are not used and disposed of properly.
- When disposing of Hazardous materials, it is important to follow the proper procedures to ensure that they are not released into the environment where they can cause harm. Improper disposal of Hazardous materials can result in contamination of soil and water, and exposure to people and animals.
Difference between Toxic and Hazardous
- There is a lot of confusion surrounding the terms “toxic” and “hazardous.” To put it simply, something that is toxic is poisonous, while something that is hazardous is dangerous.
- However, there are some subtle differences between the two terms. Something that is toxic is poisonous if ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin.
- In contrast, something that is hazardous may be dangerous to touch, breathe in, or otherwise come into contact with. For example, lead paint chips are toxic if swallowed, but they are also hazardous if you come into contact with them. As a result, it’s important to exercise caution around both toxic and hazardous materials.
It’s important to be able to distinguish between toxic and hazardous materials because the consequences of mishandling each are vastly different. Toxic materials can cause harm or death if ingested, while hazardous materials can cause physical injury, environmental damage, and even death. By being aware of the difference between these two types of materials, you can take steps to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community from potential harm.