This section gives information about the longer term health hazards that can be caused by exposure to certain substances. They are divided into the following groups:
Carcinogens – Substances that do, or can or might cause cancer.
Mutagens – Substances that do, or can, change the genetic material (DNA). Many of these cause cancer but they may have other effects such as increased likelihood of developing genetic diseases.
Reproductive toxins – These too overlap with mutagens. This class of substance can interfere with the reproductive process itself (causing infertility), can damage the unborn child or can have effects via lactation.
These three groups are each divided into three categories:
Category 1A: Known human carcinogens, mutagens etc. Based mainly on human epidemiological evidence.
Category 1B: Presumed human carcinogens, mutagens etc. The presumption is made on the basis of animal evidence, damage to cells etc
Category 2: Suspected human carcinogens, mutagens etc. This classification is based on evidence similar to that in the above categories but which is not convincing enough to give them that classification.
Sensitisers – These are substances for which exposure can lead to the development of an allergic reaction. Once this sensitisation reaction has taken place, further exposure to the substance, even to the tiniest trace, will produce symptoms. There is only 1 class of the following:
Respiratory sensitisers – can cause the development of asthma
Skin sensitisers – lead to the development of dermatitis