- Active ingredient
The term “active ingredient” is mostly used in drugs to name the substance
which is pharmaceutically active.
The term “active substance” is also used in biocidal products to name the
component which actually kills, or otherwise controls pests or bacteria.
It is not necessarily the largest or most hazardous component of the product.
Some products may contain more than one active ingredient or substance.
Non-active ingredients are often called inert ingredients.
The term alcohol refers to a family of chemicals that occur widely in nature
and are mass-produced for use in antifreezes, fuels and some manufacturing
Alcohol is commonly used to refer to alcohol-containing drinks such as wine,
beer and spirits. In this case the alcohol, ethanol, has been produced by a
process called fermentation. Consumption of
excessive amounts of alcohol can lead to drunkenness and may be harmful to
Thin-walled, tiny air sacs located at the ends of the smallest airways in the
lungs (the bronchioles) where the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide takes
(Source: GreenFacts, based on WebMD Asthma Glossary of
- Circulatory system
The system that contains the heart and the blood vessels and moves blood
throughout the body. This system helps
tissues get enough oxygen and nutrients, and
it helps them get rid of waste products. The lymph system, which connects with
the blood system, is often considered part of the circulatory system.
Dictionary of cancer
Cleaning product that usually contain surfactants to make oils and greases
soluble in water and remove them more easily.
- DG Health and Consumers
"The Health and Consumers DG (formally known as Health and Consumer Protection
DG) is one of 36 Directorates-General (DGs) and specialised services which make
up the European Commission."
The mission statement of the Health and Consumers DG is: "to promote a better
quality of life by ensuring a high level of protection of consumers' health,
safety and economic interests as well as of public health"
"This overall goal is addressed through legislative and non-legislative
actions in three inter-related policy areas: 1. Consumer policy (...), 2. Public
Health (...), 3. Food safety, animal health, animal welfare and plant health
DG Health and Consumers website
- Digestive tract
The digestive tract is the system of organs which takes in food, digests it to
extract energy and nutrients and expels remaining waste. It includes the mouth,
salivary glands, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, small
intestine, large intestine, and rectum.
After food is chewed and swallowed, the digestive juices released by the
pancreas and stomach break it down into substances that are readily absorbed
through the small intestine. Material that is not taken up by the body collects
in the large intestine, forming faecal matter that is then excreted through the
A chemical or physical process that kills or inactivates microorganisms such
as bacteria, viruses, and protozoa.
US EPA Drinking Water
The muscular tube through which food passes from the pharynx to the stomach.
- European Commission
"The European Commission (EC) embodies and upholds the general interest of the
[European] Union and is the driving force in the Union's institutional system.
Its four main roles are to propose legislation to Parliament and the Council, to
administer and implement Community policies, to enforce Community law (jointly
with the Court of Justice) and to negotiate international agreements, mainly
those relating to trade and cooperation."
The Commission's staff is organised into 36 Directorates-General (DGs) and
specialised services, such as the Environment DG and the Research DG.
The functional and physical unit of heredity passed from parent to offspring.
Genes are pieces of DNA, and most genes contain the information for making a
Talking Glossary of Genetic
- Hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is a highly reactive chemical containing the elements
hydrogen and oxygen.
Its structural formula is:
Pure hydrogen peroxide is a colourless liquid, but it is sold on the market as
solutions in water, containing up to 33 – 37% pure hydrogen peroxide and other
additives to stop the product decomposing.
- Immune system
The immune system is a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work
together to defend the body against attacks by “foreign” invaders.
Inflammation is the reaction of living tissues to infection, irritation or
The act of swallowing something through eating, drinking, or mouthing objects.
A hazardous substance can enter the body this way.
Glossary of Terms
The act of breathing.
A hazardous substance can enter the body by inhaling an airborne substance or
contaminant in the form of gas, fumes mists, vapors, dusts, or aerosols. Once
inhaled, contaminants can be deposited in the lungs and/or transported into the
Not harmful to health.
A substance that is the product of biological changes to a chemical.
CH3OH. Methanol is the simplest alcohol and is toxic. At high
concentrations, methanol can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and
death. Acute exposure may cause blindness. Chronic exposure to methanol can
cause liver damage.
(Source: GreenFacts )
- Nervous system
The nervous system is a complex, sophisticated system that regulates and
coordinates body activities.
It is made up of:
- the central nervous system, consisting of the brain
and spinal cord, and
- the peripheral nervous system which includes, the
eyes, the ears, the sensory organs of taste and smell, as well as the
sensory receptors located in the skin, joints, muscles, and other parts of
- Organic solvent
A chemical compound (usually liquid) containing carbon used to dissolve other
substances such as paints, varnishes, grease, oil, etc.
(Source: GreenFacts, based on
Dow Product Safety Glossary
pH is a measure of the concentration of
protons (H+) in a solution and, therefore, its
acidity or alkalinity. The concept was
introduced by S.P.L. Sørensen in 1909. The p stands for the German "Potenz",
meaning power or concentration, and the H
for the hydrogen ion (H+). In
layman's terms , the "pH" value is an approximate number between 0 and 14 that
indicates whether a solution is acidic (pH < 7), basic (pH > 7) or
neither (pH = 7) [neutral].
(Source: GreenFacts )
A plasticiser is a substance which when added to a material, usually a
plastic, produces a product which is flexible, resilient and easier to handle.
(Source: Plasticisers Information Centre Frequently Asked
A polymer is a high-molecular-weight organic compound, natural or man-made,
consisting of many repeating simpler chemical units or molecules called
Examples of natural polymers are proteins (polymer of amino acids) and
cellulose (polymer of sugar molecules).
An example of synthetic polymer is PVC (a polymer of vinyl chloride).
- Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety
The SCCS provides opinions on questions concerning all types of health and safety risks (notably chemical, biological, mechanical and other physical risks) of non-food consumer products (for example: cosmetic products and their ingredients, toys, textiles, clothing, personal care and household products such as detergents, etc.) and services (for example: tattooing, artificial sun tanning, etc.). For further information on the SCCS, see:
A surfactant is a substance that reduces the surface tension of a liquid in
which it is dissolved.
When dissolved in water a surfactant gives a product the ability to remove
dirt from surfaces such as the human skin, textiles, and other solids.
The likelihood of producing a significantly larger-than-average response to a
specified exposure to a substance.
Able to poison or harm an organism. Toxic substances can cause