A carcinogen is a substance or mixture that causes cancer. Unlike many toxic health effects caused by chemicals, a carcinogenic effect may take many years to develop and there may be no early warning signs. This means a diagnosis of cancer may not be made until long after exposure stops, and it may not be easy to link the disease to workplace exposure.
Carcinogens are divided into various classifications of risk. In Australia, only Schedule 1 and 2 carcinogens as nominated by the Safe Work Australia are regulated. Schedule 1 carcinogens have been identified as presenting an unacceptable risk to workers and are prohibited except for laboratory use. Schedule 2 carcinogens have restricted uses and can only be used at a workplace under restricted conditions. For both Schedule 1 and 2, authorisation is required from the relevant regulator: in Victoria, Worksafe.
A chemical that has been classified as a carcinogen under the GHS must display the health hazard pictogram, and the hazard statements associated with the carcinogen classification. Carcinogens as hazardous substances will be either Category 1 (May cause cancer) or Category 2 (Suspected of causing cancer).
The University's procedure for managing Carcinogens is:
- Carcinogens' Log (DOC, 41.5 KB) (form for tracking carcinogens).