Hazmat, a character in Avengers Academy, continuously emits dangerous radiation yet is not a mutant according to her POV comment in issue 3. What is she then? She apparently developed this ability on her own, without the intervention of a radioactive spider or other deus ex machina. Are there other characters in the Marvel universe that show unexplained inherent abilities without them resulting from "mutations".
It's likely she should be a mutant, but that doesn't make sense in context of M-Day, so as far as we know she's 'unknown'.
In Avengers Academy #10, Pym calls in Leech to give Hazmat some reprieve which may give us a clue; Leech is able to dampen mutant abilities.
But Leech is also known to dampen other (non-mutant) abilities. Given the fact that Hazmat seems to have had her powers from birth/a young age I find it very hard to say that she's not a mutant, even if she doesn't think she is.
As a minor note, Marvel doesn't seem to make a massive distinction between non-mutants. Most other superheroes aren't categorised in the same way mutants are, into one singular group with one defining trait (an X-Gene), and can vary broadly. We may never find out what 'type' or meta-human she is, unless the writers want us too.
The "mutant" definition is pretty broad, but tends to be anyone with other than standard human DNA.
Jennifer Takeda (Hazmat) had some kind of anomaly, but then was "unnaturally" (the term everyone uses about whatever happened to her) augmented by Osborne.
After that incident she inadvertently caused her parents to fall ill, so she has a lot of good reason to reject her "mutanthood". She blames her powers on Osborne, so she likely feels like more of a victim of experiment than a mutant. In reality she's both, but anything she says is likely heavily skewed by her emotional disposition.
Jennifer Takeda, codenamed Hazmat is a mutant, her point of view notwithstanding.
Her powers include the ability:
Poison generation: to produce various deadly substances from her body.
Substance Immunity: Hazmat is immune to the various deadly substances she produces.
A side effect is that she's poisonous to others with prolonged exposure, so she has to wear a containment suit most of the time.
Making the case for her being a mutant: Her powers seemed to have activated like most mutant powers do in early puberty. She, like Rogue, found her powers activating while she was with a boy. Since her powers were altered artificially by Norman Osborne she may be a mutant whose powers may remain uncontrollable.
There are other means of developing metahuman abilities in the Marvel Universe, but the most common are:
- Mutant: a member of homo sapiens superior - a genetic aberration from the Celestial tampering with human DNA. Mutants usually develop their abilities during puberty as their bodies start their major hormonal changes. Some develop earlier or later. Earlier or later development often herald significant power or peril for those around them.
- Mutate: a human with a latent genetic propensity for metahuman ability, activated by an outside energy source or catalyst. A number of the best known metahumans superheroes of the Marvel Universe are mutates. This includes such luminaries as the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, Spiderman, and Daredevil.
- Deviant: a subgroup of homo sapiens whose DNA was randomized by the Celestials and whose members almost always possess superhuman abilities but non-human appearance.
- Eternal: a subgroup of homo sapiens who possess a specific set of physical and mental superhuman abilities. Eternals were considered a successful experiment of the Celestials but were later abandoned.