PHS Database (MS Excel file created by Duke University)

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has established three categories of Particularly Hazardous Substances:  Acute Toxins, Select Carcinogens and Reproductive Toxins.

Acute Toxins:

As defined by the Laboratory Standard, Acute Toxins are chemicals which may be fatal as a result of a single exposure or exposure of short duration. The OSHA Hazard Communication Standard, 29 CFR 1910.1200, defines a similar category, highly toxic chemicals, based on animal (rat) toxicity data using the following criteria:

  • LD50 - ingestion:  < 50 mg/kg
  • LD50 - contact (24hrs):  < 200 mg/kg
  • LD50 - inhalation:  <200ppm/1hr

Select Carcinogens:

As defined by the OSHA Laboratory Standard, Select Carcinogens include:

  • All OSHA regulated carcinogens listed in 29 CFR (Subpart Z),
  • All substances the National Toxicology Program (NTP) lists as "known to be carcinogens",
  • All substances the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) defines as Group 1, "carcinogenic to humans",
  • All substances NTP lists as "reasonably anticipated to be carcinogens", and
  • All substances IARC lists as Group 2A, "probably carcinogenic to humans" or 2B, "possibly carcinogenic to humans".

Reproductive Toxins:

The third of OSHA's three categories of Particularly Hazardous Substances, are substances that affect reproductive capability and include four general sub-categories.

  • Mutagens - substances that may cause a change (mutation) in the genetic material of a cell.
  • Teratogens - substances that may affect the viability or cause physical or metabolic defects in the developing embryo or fetus when a pregnant female is exposed to that substance.
  • Sterility/Infertility - substances that may affect female or male fertility.
  • Lactation - substances that may be transferred from the mother to the child through the breast milk and cause adverse health effects in the child.

Reproductive toxins include physical agents (e.g. radiation), biological agents (e.g. viruses), maternal metabolic imbalances, and chemical agents.

Because of the hazards associated with PHS, PI's must submit a PHS Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) form to the Chemical Hygiene Officer and Department Chair, prior to ordering the chemcial. Below are editable templates for some commonly used PHS'. A blank template is provided for chemicals not commonly used.



  • Name of the chemical
  • CAS#
  • Vendor and catalog #
  • Amount to be purchased
  • Storage location
  • Brief description of use
  • Date when material is needed