Whether illness or disease actually occurs will depend on:
- the extent of exposure to a substance
- the route of exposure
- whether a person is exposed to other hazardous substances
- the person's own sensitivity to the substance.
The route of exposure is the way a hazardous substance gets into a person's body. The most common ways are:
- breathing in the substance (inhalation of dusts, vapours, sprays or mists)
- absorption through skin contact.
Hazardous substances can also be accidentally swallowed or ingested (by eating or smoking with contaminated hands) or absorbed via splashes to the eyes.