Hazardous Materials

Hazardous materials are chemical substances, which if released or misused, can pose a threat to the environment. These chemicals are used in industry, agriculture, medicine, research, and consumer goods. As many as 500,000 products pose physical or health hazards and can be defined as "hazardous materials." Each year, over 1,000 new synthetic chemicals are introduced. The threat of a major disaster caused by a hazardous material accident has greatly increased because of the increase in everyday use of chemicals and hazardous materials by all segments of our population, as well as the movement of hazardous materials by all types of transportation.

Chemicals are a natural and important part of our environment. Even though we often do not think about it, we use chemicals every day. They can be found in our kitchens, medicine cabinets, basements, and garages. Chemicals help us keep our food fresh and our bodies clean. They help our plants grow and fuel our vehicles. Hazardous materials come in the form of explosives, flammable and combustible substances, poisons, and radioactive materials.

Certain businesses and industries in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County are subject to the provisions of the North Carolina Hazardous Chemicals Right to Know legislation, as well as the Superfund Amendment and Reauthorization Act(SARA) of 1986.

North Carolina Hazardous Chemicals Right to Know Act

The North Carolina Hazardous Chemicals Right to Know Act provides to citizens and firefighters the opportunity to learn about hazardous substances used by North Carolina employers. The act does not address the education and training which an employer must provide to its employees. All employers, both private and public, who store 55 gallons or 500 pounds of a hazardous chemical, must submit a listing of the hazardous chemicals to the fire chief. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) defines a hazardous chemical as "any chemical which is a physical or health hazard."

The initial report must be submitted to the local fire chief immediately when hazardous chemicals are stored onsite. The entire list must be updated and submitted ANNUALLY to the fire chief.

The employer must report:

1. The chemical name or common name used on the Material Safety Data Sheet

2. The maximum amount stored at the facility at any time, listed in the following ranges:











5,500 plus

50,000 plus

3. The area in the facility in which the material is stored, type of container, and to what extent, if at altered pressure or temperature

4. Names and telephone numbers of 24-hour emergency facility contacts

For your convenience, a form for reporting under the NC Hazardous Materials Right to Know Act is available [PDF].

Tier II forms may be submitted in lieu of the Right to Know submissions.

Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986

Downloadable files and key web site links regarding the SARA legislation, also known as the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA), Section 312, the Section 313 Toxic Release Inventory (TRI), and Risk Management Plan Section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act are available from the North Carolina State Emergency Response Commission.

Risk Management Program 112(r) of the 1990 Clean Air Act

 The North Carolina Division of Air Quality maintains a web site which gives details on the Risk Management Program (RMP) Program 112(r) of the 1990 Clean Air Act.

Household Hazardous Waste Disposal 

The Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Utility Commission sponsors a permanent Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Facility, 3RC The EnviroStation. 3RC The EnviroStation is located at 1401 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Winston-Salem.

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