Pollution and Wastes

How are hazardous waste materials classified?

There are four types of hazardous waste materials—corrosive, ignitable, reactive, and toxic.

  • Corrosive materials can wear away or destroy a substance. Most acids are corrosive and can destroy metal, burn skin, and give off vapors that burn the eyes.
  • Ignitable materials can burst into flames easily. These materials pose a fire hazard and can irritate the skin, eyes, and lungs. Gasoline, paint, and furniture polish are ignitable.
  • Reactive materials can explode or create poisonous gas when combined with other chemicals. Combining chlorine bleach and ammonia, for example, creates a poisonous gas.
  • Toxic materials or substances can poison humans and other life. They can cause illness or death if swallowed or absorbed through the skin. Pesticides and household cleaning agents are toxic.


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