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A flammable liquid is a combustible liquid which can be easily ignited in air at ambient temperatures, i.e. it has a flash point at or below nominal threshold temperatures defined by a number of national and international standards organisations.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the United States Department of Labor defines a liquid as flammable if it has a flash point at or below 199.4 °F (93 °C). Prior to bringing regulations in line with the United Nations Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) in 2012, OSHA considered flammable liquids to be those with a flash point below 100 °F (37.8 °C). Those with flash points above 100 °F and below 200 °F (93.3 °C) were classified as combustible liquids. Studies show that the actual measure of a liquid's flammability, its flash point, is dependent on altitude.
Both OSHA and GHS further divide flammable liquids into 4 categories:
- Category I flammable liquids are those with boiling points ≤ 95 °F (35 °C) and flash points < 73 °F (23 °C)
- Category II flammable liquids are those with boiling points > 95 °F and flash points < 73 °F
- Category III flammable liquids are those with flash points > 73 °F and ≤ 140 °F (60 °C)
- Category IV flammable liquids are those with flash points > 140 °F and ≤ 199.4 °F
|Category I||Category II||Category III||Category IV|
|Hazard Statement||Extremely flammable liquid and vapour||Highly flammable liquid and vapor||Flammable liquid and vapour||Combustible liquid|
- "1910.106 - Flammable liquids. | Occupational Safety and Health Administration". www.osha.gov. Retrieved 2019-03-06.
- "But It Wasn't Flammable Before! GHS Changed the Meaning of 'Flammable Liquids'". EHS Daily Advisor. 2015-09-23. Retrieved 2019-03-08.
- "HCS/HazCom 2012 Final Rule & Appendices | Occupational Safety and Health Administration". www.osha.gov. Retrieved 2019-03-08.
- Ding, Chao, et al. “Experimental Study of the Flash Point of Flammable Liquids under Different Altitudes in Tibet Plateau.” Fire & Materials, vol. 38, no. 2, Mar. 2014, pp. 241–246. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1002/fam.2177.
- Globally harmonized system of classification and labelling of chemicals (GHS). United Nations. Economic Commission for Europe. Secretariat. (Seventh revised ed.). New York. ISBN 9789211171310. OCLC 994197992.CS1 maint: others (link)
- "Standard Temperature and Pressure". www.kentchemistry.com. Retrieved 2019-03-11.
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