Welcome to the State of California 

Hazards in the Environment

Hazards play a role in many aspects of our lives. A hazard is a potentially harmful situation which poses a level of threat to life, health, property, or environment. It can be anything from a physical hazard, such as a gun without a lock, to microbiological hazards such as cooked foods sitting at room temperature. In this section, the focus is on hazards in the environment that could be referred to as “toxic hazards.”

Toxic hazards may be naturally occurring or man-made. Toxic hazards may be chemical, radiological, or even biological. Toxic hazards may be found in air, water, food, consumer products, cosmetics and drugs, and in the workplace.  The list of toxic hazards that follows is not a comprehensive list.  Rather, it refers to toxic hazards that have been or are being studied or addressed by California Department of Public Health (CDPH) programs.  

Bioterrorism agents and diseases


Disinfection by-products

Electromagnetic fields (EMFs)

Endocrine disrupters


Medical waste







Traffic exhaust pollutants

Wildfire smoke

Last modified on: 8/4/2011 5:11 PM