Hazard & Warning Signs for Corrosive and Toxic Material

Written by kelvin hayes
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  • Introduction

    Hazard & Warning Signs for Corrosive and Toxic Material

    Signs and symbols are the easiest way to quickly convey the message that toxic or corrosive materials are nearby. These signs have been standardised internationally, and cover everything from radiation to toxic liquids and general danger warnings. These symbol placards are required on vehicles carrying toxic loads, at sites known to contain hazardous materials, and even on dustbins in hospitals.

    Internationally recognised warning signs are triangular or square with yellow and black colouring. (Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

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    The most infamous of all hazard signs, the radiation warning sign comprises a black inner circle and an outer circle divided into six 60-degree sections, alternating between black and yellow, on a square placard. This sign may indicate that radiation is in the air or ground, or that the potential for radiation exposure is higher than normal.

    Radiation can cause mutations in the cells of your body, increasing your chances of getting cancer. (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

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    The biohazard symbol was created in the late 1960s as a way to standardise the biohazard warning system within laboratories and hospitals. The symbol is three-sided so as to be symmetrical in any orientation. The blaze orange colour was chosen because it is the most visible colour under the widest range of conditions -- a finding that came from an unrelated Arctic exploration experiment. This symbol is found in hospitals, dental offices, laboratories and anywhere else people may come into contact with dangerous organic materials.

    Th biohazard symbol was created in the 1960s by Charles Baldwin with help from the Dow Chemical Company. (Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

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    Corrosive Material

    The corrosive material symbol is the least abstract of the hazard symbols and is designed to indicate chemicals that attack or corrode metals, or destroy or burn human tissue. Common chemicals that require the use of this symbol are hydrochloric acid, nitric acid, sulphuric acid and ammonia.

    Corrosive materials can also posess reactive, flammable or toxic characteristics. (Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

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    Toxic Material

    The toxic material symbol uses the most recognisable international symbol for extreme danger: the skull and crossbones. This symbol indicates, generally, an increased potential for personal injury. The symbol is usually placed on a triangular yellow and black sign, but can also be found as a stand-alone image or coupled with specific words such as "poison."

    The skull-and-crossbones toxic symbol applies to substances such as poisons. (Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

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