Environmentally hazardous substances

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In chemical and traffic law, environmentally hazardous substances are understood to be substances or preparations which themselves or their transformation products are suitable for changing the nature of the natural balance, of water , soil or air , climate , animals, plants or microorganisms in such a way that this immediately or later Hazards to the environment can be brought about.

In the European Agreement on the Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR) the wording is environmentally hazardous substance , and labeling with the hazard number 90 is required as dangerous goods , provided there are no additional hazards.

Environmental toxins are often cited as promoting disease or species extinction, but are not limited to pollutants in the traditional sense. There is no clear differentiation between the terms “environmental chemical” and “(environmental) pollutant” in either the specialist or general scientific literature.


Originally, environmental chemicals were described in the first environmental action program of the German federal government (Lit .: Dt. Bundestag, 1971) as “substances that are brought into the environment by human intervention and that can occur in quantities and concentrations that are suitable for living beings, especially humans , to endanger. This includes chemical elements or compounds of organic or inorganic nature, synthetic or natural origin […] ”. However, this definition no longer corresponds to today's understanding of pollutants. With the revision of the ADR in 2009, this category was also introduced in the ADR, before it was already in the IMDG and ADN .

Chemicals law

Classification according to CLP / GHS

GHS pictogram 09

The classification of substances hazardous to the aquatic environment according to GHS or CLP regulation is based on the following basic elements:

  • acute aquatic toxicity
  • chronic aquatic toxicity
  • potential or actual bioaccumulation
  • Degradability


  • Hazardous to the aquatic environment
    • H400 - acute 1
    • H410 - Chronic 1
    • H411 ​​- Chronic 2
    • H412 - Chronic 3
    • H413 - Chronic 4
  • Damages the ozone layer
    • H420

A classification as hazardous to water leads to labeling with the safety instructions P273 and P501. For H400, H410 and H411, P391 must also be specified. P502 is used if it is classified as hazardous to the ozone layer.

A classification as H400 plus H410, H411 or H412 can be combined in the labeling to form H410.

Classification according to the former substance directive

Dangerous for the environment

Obsolete EU hazard symbol N.

Aquatic environment:

  • Hazard symbol N - Dangerous for the environment:
    • R 50 Very toxic to aquatic organisms.
    • R 50/53 Very toxic to aquatic organisms, may cause long-term adverse effects in the aquatic environment.
    • R 51/53 Toxic to aquatic organisms, may cause long-term adverse effects in the aquatic environment.
  • Hazard symbol N not mandatory:
    • R 52 Harmful to aquatic organisms.
    • R 53 May cause long-term adverse effects in the aquatic environment.
    • R 52/53 Harmful to aquatic organisms, may cause long-term adverse effects in the aquatic environment.

Non-aquatic environment:

  • Hazard symbol N - Dangerous for the environment:
    • R 54 Toxic to plants.
    • R 55 Toxic to animals.
    • R 56 Toxic to soil organisms.
    • R 57 Toxic to bees.
    • R 58 May have long-term adverse effects on the environment.

Ozone layer:

  • Hazard symbol N - Dangerous for the environment:
    • R 59 Dangerous for the ozone layer.

Dangerous goods law

Classification according to dangerous goods law

  • Class 9, packing group III
    • Environmentally hazardous substances
      • Solids contaminating water
      • Liquids polluting water
      • Genetically modified microorganisms and organisms

Classification according to dangerous goods law - sea

In the area of ​​sea transport there is also the subdivision

  • non marine pollutant
  • marine pollutant
  • very marine pollutant


A complete listing of the environmentally hazardous substances represented by an article in Wikipedia can be found in the Environmentally Hazardous Substance category .

See also


  • German Bundestag, 6th electoral term (ed.): Environmental program of the federal government 1971. Environmental planning. German Bundestag, Bonn 1979, printed VI / 2719.
  • Bernd Beek, Horst Neidhard, Günther Neumeier, Wolfgang Lohrer: Substitution of environmentally hazardous substances. Wissenschaftsmagazin Ökologie 8, pp. 77-90 (1985), Technische Universität Berlin.
  • Helmut Greim: Chemicals with endocrine disrupting potential: a threat to human health? Angewandte Chemie 117 (35), pp. 5704-5711 (2005), doi : 10.1002 / anie.200502138 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ German Chemicals Act (ChemG) § 3a of June 20, 2002 ( Federal Law Gazette I p. 2090 ), last amended by Art. 231 Regulation of October 31, 2006 ( Federal Law Gazette I p. 2407 ).
  2. ADR 2007 Meaning of hazard identification numbers, German Meaning of the numbers for identifying the hazard .
  3. CLP Regulation, Tables 4.1.4 and 5.2.
  4. ECHA : Guidance on the Application of the CLP Criteria , Version 5.0, July 2017, pp. 551–552.