Hazardous materials include chemicals used in teaching and research laboratory experiments but they also include solvents, adhesives, cleaning agents as well as paints, varnishes, use of solder, film development and other compounds not typically associated with the laboratory environment.
Each of these compounds typically has one or more hazardous properties. The material may pose a hazard from inhalation, ingestion, skin absorption or it may be damaging to the eyes.
Before working with hazardous materials it is important to research these properties and determine the best way to protect against them. This usually starts with the products Material Data Safety Sheet (MSDS). Every manufacturer is required to create an MSDS for each of their products that requires one. You can look for the MSDS on the manufacturer web site or contact the Environmental Safety Office to receive a copy.