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Sci.chem FAQ - Part 2 of 7

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Archive-name: sci/chem-faq/part2
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Last-modified: 22 October 1999
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See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
Subject: 7. General Chemistry-related Information on the Internet 
Compiled by:    Neil Flatter  
                Lev A. Gorenstein  
                Theodore Heise  
                Mark Perks  
Mutilated by:   Bruce Hamilton 

There are so many references that relate to chemistry on the Internet
that this section could become overwhelming in size.  Instead of trying to 
provide a comprehensive listing of all such sites, what follows is more a 
collection of pointers to other sources that carry a diverse range of
material related to chemistry.  By knowing where to look for an answer, 
these references should provide a springboard for an information search 
on the Internet. Specialist software and search engines are available to 
search for keywords using Gopher and the WWW, and they will also point to 
additional sources not accessed by the sites below. 

7.1  How can I access databases such as Chemical Abstracts?

These databases are almost all inevitably commercial, it costs serious
money to build and update them, thus it will cost money to access them. 
Either you or your institution will be paying the supplier. Do not 
expect to find copyrighted databases ( such as the Merck Index, Chemical
Abstracts, Kirk Othmer, or Sax ) freely available on the Internet.

There are several commercial suppliers of databases that contain chemical 
information. These can usually be accessed either via the Internet or 
telephone Packet Switching Networks. The most well known specialist database 
is the American Chemical Society's Chemical Abstracts [1], which is provided
by the Chemical Abstracts Service. CAS offers a commercial database service 
called STN International, which contains over 190 scientific and technical 

These databases cover all aspects of Chemistry, including CAS
Registry Numbers, and are accessible via the WWW.                   Chemical Abstracts Service.          STN Introduction                Dialog

The most universal and comprehensive database supplier is Knight Ridder, 
whose Dialog service offers over 40 databases that solely concentrate
on aspects of chemistry, including Chemical Abstracts since 1967 ( but it 
does not offer the actual abstract, just the bibliographic information ) 
and the CAS RN database [2]. Dialog also offers several hundred other
commercial and technical databases, and Knight Ridder also offers selected 
general and technical databases on a low-cost, home user ( off-peak :-) ) 
system known as " Knowledge Index "  at approx 25% of the normal Dialog cost.
Knowledge Index is also available from some on-line suppliers such as 
Compuserve - but remember that KI does not include CA. 

The ability to perform on-line searches is becoming an essential attribute 
for modern chemists. Major database suppliers offer a wide range of training 
courses and there are several excellent articles on searching the chemical 
literature ( database and/or journals) in journals such as J.Chem.Ed.[3-5]. 
If you have access to a CD-ROM database, you should practise your search 
logic on that first, before going on-line. Because of the cost structure of 
database suppliers such as Dialog, and the inappropriate selection of 
keywords by authors :-), it is often more cost-effective to focus on grabbing
around 100-200 titles and scanning them offline ( using the 30 minutes 
"hold search" function ), and then going back online to grab the desired 
abstracts and citation information.

7.2  What chemistry-related material is on the WWW?


There are several well-known search engines available on the WWW that will
provide updated searches for keywords. Because of the huge expansion of the
WWW, I've decided to select some sites and allow users to use search 
engines and/or web crawlers to locate resources. If you find a real 
treasure house of chemical goodies, email me the address and I'll check it
out. It is important to realise that many of the WWW search engines are 
complementary, and so it is useful to utilise several when trying to locate 
information on the web - good places to start are directories of various 
WWW search engines.

Free search engines include:-                          Alta Vista                                 Google                                  Lycos                                  Yahoo                                Infoseek                                 Excite                             Webcrawler

Chemistry Overview sites
    The fastest and best way to discover information about chemicals on
    the WWW is CambridgeSoft Corporation's Chemfinder free searching 
    server. This has to be one of the most convenient ways to obtain 
    chemical information on the Internet. Highly recommended.
    The Royal Society of Chemistry maintains an excellent list of sites 
    containing chemistry-related material, and is a good starting point.
    This is the new WWW site from the American Chemical Society, and
    is intended to be their prime location of chemical information.
Other very useful sites include;-
    The University of Sheffield comprehensive listing of WWW Chemical info.
    Over 2200 sites indexed as of September 1996.
    List of Chemical Services and Resources
    Comprehensive compilation of the NIST Chemistry WebBook, which 
    includes thermochemical, IR, and mass spectral data. 
    The World-Wide Web Virtual Library: Chemistry.
    Gary Hieftje's site, covering many aspects of spectrochemistry.
    Gary Wiggins' extensive compilation of WWW chemical sites.
    Internet Journal of Science - Biological Chemistry  
    Chemical Abstracts Service offers a diverse range of information
    with a search facility.
   CambridgeSoft site, ChemDraw, glassware, clip-art
    The Chemistry Hypermedia project, especially chemical education.
    Another listing of Chemistry Internet Resources
    The searchable Yahoo Collection of Chemistry Resources
    Home of the ISIS/DRAW chemical structure drawing programme 
    ( free for academic and personal home use ).    
Chemistry Education

Many of the WWW chemistry directories above also have extensive links to 
educational resources, services, and institutions:-

Additional useful sites include:- 
    Journal of Chemical Education Online.
    A comprehensive listing of education resources.
    Internet Resources for Science and Mathematics Education compiled
    by Tom O'Haver.
    UC Irvine Science Education Program, not only chemistry.
    Typical University Organic Chemistry Laboratory information.
    Bassam Shakhashiri's home page - full of entertaining information. 

Other Chemistry-related Resources
    The Virtual Chemical Engineering Library
    The Electrochemical Science and Technology Information Resource.
    For the best science satire around, check out the Annals of Improbable 
    Research, successor to the Journal of Irreproducible Results. Whilst 
    the full version is only available via subscription services, such as
    ClariNet, smaller items are published free in the Mini AIR.
    Chemical Heritage Foundation site about history of chemical industry
    Diverse range of chemistry drawing, interpretation, and modelling software.

General Education Resources
Many of the Chemistry Overview sites also point to general science sites,
and use of the large search engines is recommended, but some additional 
sites include:-
    Journal of Molecular Modeling
    Internet Resources for Science and Mathematics Education compiled
    by Tom O'Haver.

Chemical Reference Spectra
    Comprehensive compilation of the NIST Chemistry WebBook, which 
    includes thermochemical, IR, and mass spectral data. 

7.3  What information is available commercially on-line?

As well as the database suppliers such as Knight-Ridder's Dialog ( and 
low-cost home-user Knowledge Index ) and CAS's STN International, there are 
several other technical database suppliers that include chemistry-related 
material, eg Orbit. These organisations usually approach institutional 
librarians and provide comprehensive descriptions of their available 
services. The best place to start is at your local library, talking to the 
librarian in charge of on-line services to ascertain what is available, and
what levels of support are provided. 

The obvious first places to start are Dialog and STN. The range of chemistry-
related databases are extensive. There are several full-text databases of
patents, full-text newspapers and journals, and many specialised databases.
- industry-specific     Aluminium Industry Abstracts, Paperchem
- subject-specific      Fine Chemicals Database, Chemical Engineering and
                        Biotech Abstracts
- chemical properties   Beilstein, Heilbron, Merck Index, Agrochemicals
- location-specific     IMS World R&D focus.
- chemical market       Chemical Business Newsbase, Chemical Industry Notes, 
                        Freedonia Market Research.

If you plan on using Knight Ridder's lower cost Knowledge Index, ensure that
the databases you are interested in are available on KI, as not all Dialog 
databases are.

With nearly 200 databases on STN and approximately 500 on Dialog, they both 
offer access to a wide range of information. For more specialist information, 
accessing individual businesses is required, and they can provide specialist
sales, marketing and technical support for their products - many such 
businesses are now accessible via the WWW. There are also the various 
registry companies like Thomas that list chemical and equipment suppliers,
and who also offer a free evaluation period:-

7.4  What information is available free on-line?

The best technique is to use a WWW search engine to locate information
you desire, but some interesting locations are listed below.
    CambridgeSoft Corporation's Chemfinder free searching server will
    locate much of the diverse information about chemicals ( physical 
    properties, CAS RN, MSDS, etc. )  available on the Internet.                        
    Chemistry Today is a daily news service that can also be obtained
    by email. 

Several science journals are now making some of their commentary items and 
abstracts available on the WWW, however subscriptions are still required 
for access to the full journal. These include:-                            Nature                      New Scientist

Many of the Journals published by the American Chemical Society and Royal 
Society of Chemistry also have homepages or articles available. The ACS 
index also includes some of the UK and Japanese journals as well.

American Chemical Society                    ACS Journal Index    Chemical & Engineering News    Chemical Health & Safety    Analytical Chemistry    Environmental Science
                                                   and Technology    Journal of the American
                                                   Chemical Society    Journal of Organic 

Royal Society of Chemistry             RSC Journal Index    Journal of Chemical
                                                   Research   Organic Process R&D.

Society of Chemical Industry                               Chemistry & Industry   

The Bulletin of the Chemical Society of Japan homepage is also available
via the ACS publications page.

7.5  What chemical patent information is available on-line?

Both Dialog and STN offer commercial access to US and International patents
online, many with full text - however the international ones, especially
those devoted to capturing the current status of patents can be expensive,
so ensure your searching skills are honed if you wish to avoid a large
    A new site that offers free searching of the last 20+ years of US 
    patents, and also provide the abstracts, some images, and the claim 
    summary free. Complete copies of the patents can also be ordered. 
    It has a good search engine, and probably should be the first site to 
    visit, but note that it requires a browser that supports frames
    (eg version 3 of Netscape or Internet Explorer).   STO Patent retrieval service
    Gregory Aharonian has struggled for several years to provide a free, 
    comprehensive patent title service. This excellent free service offers 
    the titles of chemical, mechanical, or electrical patents via email 
    to subscribers. Recently he also offered one years worth of patent 
    abstracts, but requires some financial donations to expand the 
    service.  The abstracts are freely retrievable by patent number (sorry 
    no searching yet, that needs the big donations). For subscription info, 
    send 'help' to   USPTO/CNIDR Patent Project
    This page provides access to both the U.S. Patent Bibliographic 
    Database, which includes bibliographic data from 1976 to 1997, and 
    the AIDS Patent Database, which includes the full text and images 
    of AIDS related patent issued by the U.S., European and Japanese 
    Patent offices.

7.6  Which FTP sites contain chemistry-related material?
    Jan Labanowsky's server, also contains an archive of the computational 
    chemistry mailing list.
    QCPE archive
    Dos and Windows public domain and shareware

7.7  What chemistry-focused mailing lists exist? 
    Chemistry laboratories (both academic and research), students' 
    experiments (high school, college and university), classroom 
    demonstrations and shows for the public of chemical processes, 
    chemistry stockroom management, lab safety, and  small-scale chemical 
    waste handling procedures.
7.8  How can I contact Chemical Societies electronically?

In general, most WWW sites will also contain email addresses that they
can be contacted through.
    The American Chemical Society homepage provides access information, 
    and additional email support is available via the following:-           ACS Division information               ACS expositions            ACS membership information           ACS national meeting information               Reaction Times (college newspaper)           ACS regional meeting information               ACS state and local government affairs
    The UK Royal Society of Chemistry, WWW and email address.
    The UK Society of Chemical Industry.
    The German Chemical Society (Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker, GDCh)
    The Chemical Society of Japan ( English index )
7.9  How can I contact large chemical companies? 

Check their WWW pages for information.                            Argus Chemicals                             Dow Chemicals                         Eastman Chemicals                     GE Plastics                         Hoechst                           Eli Lilly                        Monsanto                   Quality Chemicals                        Rohm and Haas                   Sigma, Aldrich and Fluka                 Sumitomo Chemicals

You can observe the naming conventions, so try for 
other companies not listed, and you can also try using the on-line version
of the Thomas Register.

7.10 How can I contact chemical suppliers? 

Several major chemical suppliers now have on-line catalogues on the WWW.
    Sigma, Aldrich, Fluka, and Riedel de Haen chemical catalogues
    Acros Chemicals catalogue 
    Fisher Chemical catalogue
    Romil Chemicals catalogue ( high purity chemicals )  

Check out the FAQs in rec.pyrotechnics and alt.drugs, they may also list 
some legal suppliers. With the rapid growth of the WWW, it is usually
a good idea to conduct a search to locate suppliers, and you could try
the Chemsources or Thomas Register sites to locate addresses.

Use of WWW search engines and specific terms like "biochemicals" 
will locate the WWW and email addresses of speciality suppliers

7.11 How can I contact equipment suppliers 

Check out the FAQs in rec.pyrotechnics and alt.drugs, they may also list 
some legal suppliers. With the rapid growth of the WWW, it is usually
a good idea to conduct a search to locate suppliers on the Internet, 
and using the Thomas Register site to locate suppliers not on the Internet.
    Thomas Register                    ( manufacturers and suppliers )
    Sigma, Aldrich, Fluka and Supelco  ( techware and books )
    Fisher Catalogue                   ( general lab equipment )

7.12 How can I contact US government agencies?
    FedWorld Information Network at the National Technical Information 
    Service NTIS) was created "to provide a one-stop location for the public 
    to locate, order, and have delivered to them, U.S. Government 
    Executive Branch Gophers (Library of Congress) 
    National Institute of Standards and Technology
    Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (Searchable) 
    Department of Transportation 
    Environmental Protection Agency 
    Federal Communications Commission 
    Government Printing Office

7.13 Where can I find compilations of science humour?
    For the best science satire around, check out the Annals of Improbable 
    Research, successor to the Journal of Irreproducible Results. Whilst 
    the full version is available via subscription services, such as
    ClariNet, smaller items are published free in the Mini AIR.
    A huge 500kB compilation of science jokes regularly posted to Usenet.
    Search selections from the Annals of Improbable Research

7.14 Where can I purchase scientific software?

Aldrich and Fisher sell software, as do some of the Chemical Societies
    Sigma, Aldrich, Fluka and Supelco
    Fisher Catalogue          
    Diverse range of chemistry drawing, interpretation and modelling software.

Refer also to "Chemistry Overview Sites " and "Other Chemistry-related 
Resources" in section 7.2.

Subject: 8. Laboratory and Chemical Safety Information on the Internet Compiled by: Neil Flatter Lev A. Gorenstein Theodore Heise Mark Perks Mutilated by: Bruce Hamilton 8.1 Where can I find Material Safety Data Sheets? Manufacturers are required by OSHA to provide MSDSs for the chemicals they produce, but most include liability disclaimers. For MSDSs obtained from online sources, the user must be sure the MSDS meets his/her needs. As with most information obtained from the Internet, use at your own risk!. If you don't know how to interpret the data, find an expert to explain the significance of the information presented. Because the number of WWW sites with MSDS are changing all the time, it is often preferable to use a WWW search engine to find the latest sources of data sheets. The comprehensive Vermont SIRI location is an excellent first port of call when searching for chemical safety information. ~180,000 MSDS The Cornell site mirrors the Vermont SIRI site and also contains the US Department of Defence CD-ROM MSDS. ~325,000 MSDS The Dept. of Chemistry, University of Kentucky, maintains an up-to-date " Where to find MSDS on the Internet " site pointing towards over thirty useful locations. CambridgeSoft Corporation's Chemfinder free searching server will also locate safety information for chemicals, including ~60,000 MSDS. The Fisher Scientific Chemical Catalog is available online. In addition to MSDSs, you can order chemicals. Environmental Chemicals Data and Information Network in Italy provides a searchable database with 120,000 MSDS. 8.2 Where can I find detailed safety & toxicity data? The comprehensive Vermont SIRI location is an excellent first port of call when searching for chemical safety information. CambridgeSoft Corporation's Chemfinder free searching server will also locate safety information on chemicals, including MSDS. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) at the Centers for Disease Control maintains a searchable database which contains toxicological profiles of about 200 chemicals. Note that many government departments now have made their databases available to both commercial database suppliers ( such as Knight Ridder ) and private citizens. Some are free, and some charge, it is worth contacting government agencies like OSHA, NIOSH, EPA, NIH and asking about what is available. Some databases ( like NIH library ) can be accessed via telnet, as also can Dialog ( once you have an account number ). eg Medline, a medical database maintained by the NIH telnet:// 8.3 Where can I find occupational exposure limits? The most well-known list of occupational exposure limits is the annual list of TLVs and BEIs compiled by the ACGIH, who also offer a diverse range of reports and pointers to other sources of information. Recent (but perhaps not most current, but it is being updated) site for the Code of Federal Regulations. Title 29 of the CFR (Labor) section 1910.1000 lists OSHA's permissible exposure limits (PELs) for air contaminants. 8.4 Where can I find hazard information for a chemical? In general, the first contact should be the safety professional at your institution, local poison centre or local fire department - as they will be trained to review and comprehend the information they have access to. A WWW visit to the sites in sections 8.1 and 8.2 will also provide some information, and point to other sources. The following site has pointers to several useful sources. Carolla Christie of Christie Communications maintains an excellent list of environmental and occupational health and safety information resources available on the Internet. Many of the useful organisation and institutional resources currently are only contactable via email. 8.5 Where can I find laboratory safety guides? Carolla Christie of Christie Communications maintains an excellent list of environmental and occupational health and safety information resources available on the Internet. RISKANAL mailing list. discusses environmental and occupational health and safety issues, particularly those associated with college and university campuses, although a wide range of subjects is encouraged. 8.6 Where can I find other safety information? Many of the Chemistry Overview WWW sites in Section 7.2 also have safety sections with extensive numbers of pointers to WWW sites. Some US Government departments ( OSHA, EPA, NIH ) have WWW sites with information, which can be accessed directly, or via some of the sites in Section 7.12. The ACS division of Chemical Health and Safety homepage. The Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry The American Industrial Hygiene Association The WWW site below has large numbers of pointers to other sites with extensive ranges of information on chemical, laboratory, and general safety issues. Carolla Christie of Christie Communications maintains an excellent list of safety information resources available on the Internet. The list is also posted to the SAFETY mailing list above.
Subject: 9. Traditional General Chemistry Information Sources 9.1 When can I find Chemical Abstracts? Chemical Abstracts is produced by the ACS and is available either in hardcopy or CD-ROM form in most institution libraries that have a chemistry department. It is expensive, and is also available commercially from several online database suppliers ( refer to Section 7.1 ). It is not legally available free over the Internet. Some libraries have accidentally enabled limited search access for anonymous users, but this is usually soon curtailed, so enjoy them while you can :-). If your school does not have access, the librarian should be able to ascertain the nearest library that holds the hardcopy CA and also permits public access. CA volumes are not available for interloan. All chemicals are given an arbitrary Registry Number as they are encountered by the Chemical Abstracts Service ( Section 12.1 ). Many information sources now also use the CAS RN to overcome potential nomenclature confusion. 9.2 Where can I obtain chemical patent information? Most governments have a patent office, and there are usually branches in main centres. If you are able to obtain access to the patents at the patent office, and are familiar with patent codes, or know the patent number, the cost will be lower than using a patent attorney. If you do not know how to search for patents, and your time is valuable, you will find that using a patent attorney will be very cost effective. An excellent guide to the general concepts of patents and what you can expect to find, along with the advantages and disadvantages, is " What Every Engineer Should Know About Patents" [1]. 9.3 Where can I purchase chemicals? The chemicals usually found in home chemistry sets can usually be purchased at the shop where the set was obtained, or the local hardware shop or pharmacist, provided the chemical is not subject to government or state restrictions. Many chemicals are only available to approved purchasers. If the chemical is used for a hobby, then it is very likely the FAQ for that Usenet group ( eg rec.pyrotechnics ), will contain information on suppliers. Most national chemical societies publish an annual listing of suppliers with their journals. Standard trade directories ( eg Chem Sources [2,3] and OPD Chemical Buyers Directory [4] ) list companies who specialise in chemicals, however few will be interested in small purchases. Smaller specialist and boutique suppliers are usually more likely to sell small quantities of chemicals to individuals. Most larger suppliers of high purity laboratory and industrial chemicals ( eg Aldrich-Sigma [5], J.T.Baker [6] ) will only sell a limited range of chemicals to individuals , and usually do not provide any discounts for individuals - unless they have an account with the company. I'm not sure about the US, but here in NZ discounts can halve the price of most chemicals. If you are intending to acquire a wide range of chemicals over time, an account may be a good idea, however remember that you may then be subject to inspection visits by regulators if you purchase certain chemicals. Most government and corporate organisations and laboratories also have policies of not supplying unknown individuals with *any* chemical. Some chemical suppliers are also accessible via the Internet ( refer Section 7.10 ) 9.4 Where can I purchase laboratory equipment? As with chemicals, simple laboratory equipment can be purchased from the suppliers of home chemistry sets. Some government and state authorities require certain equipment ( eg stills ) to be registered, especially if it can be used to produce illegal substances. Most larger suppliers may require an account, but often specialist supplies can be purchased from hobby shops such as home brew kit suppliers. Once again the FAQ of relevant newsgroups ( such as alt.drugs and rec.pyrotechnics ) may provide the names of suppliers, as can trade directories and the Yellow Pages. Cole Palmer and Fisher offer free comprehensive catalogues that identify what is available. Some equipment suppliers are accessible via the Internet ( refer Section 7.11 ). 9.5 What reference texts should I search first? If you require basic physical information about a chemical then many chemical suppliers catalogues also include common properties - such as boiling point, melting point, density, and flash point. Aldrich, Merck, and Lancaster provide information on organic chemicals, and Sigma covers biochemicals. Chemical catalogues also often provide cross references to the Chemical Abstracts Registry Numbers, the Merck Index, spectral libraries, safety, and preparation information. The actual product purity may limit the accuracy of the data, and more accurate information could be available in the Rubber Handbook or Merck Index. As catalogues are usually free on request ( Aldrich catalogue is also available on disk as a searchable database for $25 ), they are an excellent initial information source that will often direct you to appropriate reference texts. You may be able to acquire an older edition by asking your chemistry teacher or chemical storeroom supervisor. Depending on the type of chemical information required, some specialist reference texts may be required, but there are several texts that are common to most fields of chemistry. These are usually found in the reference section of most public and technical libraries and, because they are often heavily discounted for students, many chemists have copies of several of them. If your library does not have them, ask some of your teachers for access to their personal copy. Many of these texts are now also available on CD-ROM, usually at a slightly lower cost than the hardcopy, however the Merck Index is an exception where the CD-ROM version costs significantly more than the hardcopy. The Merck Index is an excellent starting point for information on organic chemicals used in the agricultural, biochemical, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries. It is usually available, along with the Rubber Handbook, in the reference section of libraries. Don't expect a $7,000 encyclopedia set like Kirk Othmer to be freely available over the Internet, or available on CD-ROM for $100 :-). I have also marked those that are commercially available through online services with an asterisk. For more detailed aspects of individual compounds, common texts include:- CRC Handbook of Chemistry & Physics ( aka Rubber Handbook ) [7] - tabulations of diverse chemical and physical properties. - start here for physical data with minimal description. The Merck Index * [8] - brief monographs on most common organic chemicals, especially those used in the chemical, biochemical, and pharmaceutical industries. - excellent source for physical and physiological properties, common names, and CAS RN. - monographs point to more descriptive sources. - available on CD-ROM, but the hardcopy version is much cheaper. Lange's Handbook of Chemistry [9] - tabulations of chemical properties. Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary [10] - very brief monographs on a wide range of common industrial chemicals. - very good starting point to ascertain physical properties of both inorganic and organic chemicals used in commerce. - Available on CD-ROM Tables of Physical and Chemical Constants ( aka Kaye and Laby ) [11] - tabulations of constants, often not in the Rubber Handbook The Chemical Technicians' Ready Reference Handbook [12] - tabulations of various common chemicals and materials. The Matheson Gas Data Book [13] - tabulations of properties of a diverse range of gases There are several good general "science" texts that provide basic coverage of aspects of chemistry, eg the concise version of the McGraw Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology [14] or Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia [15]. There are also several single volume chemistry books that provide brief monographs covering diverse aspects of chemistry, such as the McGraw Hill Encyclopedia of Chemistry [16]. These texts are often found in the reference sections of general libraries. The next source is usually the encyclopedia sets that are also found in the reference section of general libraries. There are some general ones that cover all fields of science, and often have annual updates. An example is the 20 volume McGraw Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, available in hardcopy or CD-ROM versions [17]. For more detailed, but still with general coverage, there are at least two popular large multi-volume chemistry encyclopedias. One, or both, of these is usually found in the reference sections of technical and large public libraries. These have become the standard first point of reference for information on properties, production, and applications of industrial chemicals. Kirk Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology - 4th edition * [18] - excellent 27 volume set - extensive monographs on chemical families and processes. - start here if you wish to obtain up-to-date, easy-to-read, comprehensive technical information on an amazingly diverse range of chemistry. ( available in hardcopy ($324/volume, around $7,000/set), online, on CD-ROM, and as a greatly-abridged concise volume (3rd Edition = $110) Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry - 5th edition [19] - excellent translation from the original German edition. - extensive monographs on common industrial processes - the style is different to Kirk Othmer in that information is not so well integrated into the monograph, but often contains more hard information and good reviews of specific topics. ( In 1997 the fifth edition was made available on CD-ROM, with the sixth edition was started in 1998, with each CD holding the equivalent of three printed volumes. The full book/CD-ROM sixth edition will cost around $14,000 ) There are also the very large multi-volume sets of specialised chemical information that are mainly only found in institutions that have a strong chemistry or chemical engineering component, such as: Beilstein * [20] - provides detailed monographs of most organic chemicals, covering preparation, properties and structure. Gmelin [21] - provides detailed information on most elements and inorganic chemicals Heilbron * [22] - provides short monographs of many organic compounds, mainly listing properties and references to preparations. An excellent way to quickly find information on chemicals. McKetta - Encyclopedia of Chemical Processing and Design [23] - extensive monographs containing technical data on chemical processes. Encyclopedia of Polymer Science and Engineering - 2nd edition * [24] ( available in hardcopy, online, and in a greatly-abridged concise volume ) - detailed monographs on common polymers and processes Thorpe's Dictionary of Applied Chemistry [25] - getting old, but *still* contains lots of excellent information on the properties and industrial applications of chemicals - is very useful for historical information on how a product developed. For more specialised references, refer to the appropriate section of this FAQ, however I will list a few texts covering general laboratory techniques not mentioned elsewhere. If your local bookshop does not carry specialist technical books, many are also available from appropriate chemical and equipment suppliers, such as Aldrich-Sigma and Supelco. Vacuum = High Vacuum Techniques for Chemical Syntheses and Measurements [26]. = High Vacuum Techniques [27] Pipework = Swagelok Tube Fitting and Installation Manual [28] Thermocouples = Thermocouples: Theory and Practice [29] ( The Omega catalogues are also a good source of practical information on a wide range of temperature, flow and pressure sensors ) Many of the laboratory safety texts also include sections on design and management of laboratories. 9.6 Where can I find physical and spectral properties of chemicals? Some chemical suppliers catalogues ( eg Aldrich [5] ), also include common properties such as boiling point, melting point, density, flash point. Most will provide a catalogue free on request, but it is often easier to obtain an obsolete edition from your institution, as they usually just throw them out. The most information is often in catalogues from international laboratory chemical suppliers ( eg J.T.Baker [6], Merck [30], Rhone-Poulenc [31] ), and specialist organic chemical suppliers ( eg Aldrich [5], Sigma [32], Janssen [33], Lancaster [34] ), however it should be remembered that the product purity will affect the value reported, and that more accurate values may be available in references such as the Merck Index or Rubber Handbook. Once you have checked the catalogues, and checked the standard texts above, then more specialised compilations should be checked. For spectral properties, there are several large compilations of detailed spectral properties, including infra-red [35-37], NMR [38-40], and mass-spec [41,42]. These are usually located near the instruments, rather than in the library, however the NIST IR and mass spectral libraries are accessible via the WWW ( refer Section 7.2 ). Most transportation safety compilations and MSDS also list common physical properties, as do the most of the encyclopedia sets ( refer Section 9.5 ). More specialised information is usually found in specialist books or journals, such as the Journal of Chemical and Engineering Data. 9.7 Where can I find production data for commercial chemicals Both Kirk Othmer and Ullmann tabulate production data, and identify major manufacturers, and more recent information is found in monographs in CMR. C&EN also tabulates production data for the major industrial chemicals and publishes an annual listing of the top 50 chemicals. Lists of manufacturers of chemicals are found in compilations such as Chemical Sources [2,3] and trade directories. There are also industry organisations such as the Chemical Manufacturers Association that maintain records of production. Specialist industry journals usually provide annual surveys of production and capacity. Government departments ( often the Dept. of "Trade & Industry" or "Commerce" ) also compile national production statistics. 9.8 Where can I find the composition of a proprietary chemical? If it has been patented, the composition will be detailed in the patent, and any local patent agent should be able to locate and obtain a copy. Transportation regulations usually require manufacturers to list components, consequently examination of the MSDS often provides an indication of major components, some of which are likely to just be the solvent. There are also compilations of chemical tradenames that may also indicate what the major components in a proprietary chemical. Hawley, Gardner, Industrial Chemical Thesaurus [43], Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemical Additives [44], and the Chemical Tradenames Dictionary [45] are good starting points. In some countries only the "active" or "toxic" ingredients have to be disclosed, consequently chemical analysis would have to be undertaken. Another technique is to look for equivalent formulations - to ascertain what ingredients are typically used, and the multi-volume Chemical Formulary [46] is one of the best sources if you can not justify a patent search. 9.9 Where can I find out about the history of Chemistry? There is a Usenet group that is very knowledgeable and active, and includes individual events in the history of chemistry. There are usually several overview books on the history of chemistry in most school and public libraries, and example is "The History of Chemistry" by J.Hudson [47]. There are also several outstanding biographies of famous chemists, and many chemical societies and chemical firms have commissioned books on specific aspects of chemistry history. The Journal of Chemical Education often has articles on specific historical aspects of chemistry. 9.10 Where can I find out about the discovery of an element? The Rubber Handbook has a monograph on each element, including a brief discussion of the discovery. "Chemistry of the Elements" by Greenwood and Earnshaw [48], and "The Elements" by Emsley [49], also provide good discussions, and Gmelin provides a fairly comprehensive discussion of discovery of each element. In each of the above, the discovery of each element is taken in isolation. The best general overview that provides a cohesive framework explaining the overall progression of discoveries, is "Discovery of the Elements" by Weeks [50], and it should be available in most libraries. For the more recent elements, there usually are brief reports and discussions in C&EN and the Journal of Chemical Education. 9.11 What inspirational books about chemistry should I read? Do they exist :-)?. You could try "The Chemical Bond: Structure and Dynamics" edited by A.Zewail [51]. It contains articles by several Nobel Laureates. If you want to be entertained, and only have time for a short read, try the "Chemistry in the Next Century" [52] article in Industrial and Engineering Chemistry written in May 1935 by Thomas Midgley, Jr.. He was responsible for the discovery and development of CFCs and alkyl lead octane enhancers for gasoline - two chemical developments that became so pervasive and useful that their use resulted in unintentional environmental pollution. For a brief story about their discovery, try "Midgley - Saint or Serpent" [53] in Chemtech. It confirms that old saying " Luck is when preparation meets opportunity ".
Subject: 10. Traditional Laboratory and Chemical Safety Information Sources 10.1 Where can I find Material Safety Data Sheets? Most suppliers of chemicals will provide a MSDS on request if you are a customer. Several major chemical suppliers have combined their own MSDS sheets and issued major compilations, eg Sigma-Aldrich [1] ( available on CD-ROM or Magnetic Tape for $1,650), which may be available in the library. If a librarian can not locate the MSDS database, then try the Health and Safety Officer, who should know where to find MSDS. Larger organisations often purchase a compilation and make it available on a computer network for in-house use. The US Department of Defence CD-ROM of approximately 200,000 MSDS is available for approximately $100. 10.2 Where can I find hazard information for a chemical? Chemical suppliers usually include common hazard information in their catalogues. Merck and Hawley also list some information. Large compilations include Sax, Fire Protection Guide to Hazardous Materials [2], Sigma-Aldrich Library of Chemical Safety Data [3], CRC Handbook of Laboratory Safety [4], and Hazards in the Chemical Laboratory [5]. It is very important to realise that hazard information is frequently updated, and so information should be complemented with an online search of safety databases. If the chemical is already being used at your site, it is probable that the Safety Officer or Laboratory Manager already have the required information. The Handbook of Reactive Chemical Hazards [6], can be used to check for possible hazardous reactions. Highly toxic, radioactive, and carcinogenic compounds require special precautions, and the Safety Officer or Laboratory Manager should be able to provide the appropriate resources to ascertain if the compound can be handled safely. 10.3 Where can I find detailed safety & toxicity data? The very first question you should ask is, "Am I qualified to assess the data?". If the answer is no, then your best option is to locate somebody who is. This can be a Health and Safety Officer, staff of an appropriate government organisation (eg OSHA, NIOSH ), or a specialist consultant. Most institutions have a policy of ensuring workers are given sufficient information about hazards to ensure they can make an informed decision. There are several major compilations that are usually found in libraries, including RTECS, Sax, and the three-volume Sigma-Aldrich Library of Regulatory and Safety Data [7]. In general, because safety information can become obsolete rapidly, these should only be used as an introductory guide, and they should be complemented with either an on-line search or consultation with an expert. Detailed information for unusual chemicals is often difficult to locate in the published literature, and may only be available to qualified professionals in the health and safety fields. Sometimes the toxicity has to be inferred from published information on related compounds, and such assessments should always be performed by experts. 10.3 Where can I find occupational exposure limits? There are several organisations responsible for establishing the occupational exposure limits. The values used most extensively in industry, but also the most controversial, are those of the ACGIH. Their TLVs and Biological Exposure Indices [8] have been used in many countries as initial guidelines until relevant local expertise can assess their suitability. They are also misused, despite the clear warnings in the front of the booklet. The US Government also has Permissible Exposures Limits set by the Dept. of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and Recommended Exposure Limits set by the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaff Maximum Concentrations in the Workplace are often also used. The ACGIH publishes an excellent compilation of all these limits [9], thus facilitating a review of how experts perceive the occupational hazards. The International Labour Office in Geneva publishes a comprehensive " Encyclopedia of Occupational Health and Safety " which also covers chemicals [10]. 10.5 What is the most poisonous compound? " All substances are poisons. There is not one that is not a poison. The correct dose differentiates a poison and a remedy". (Paracelsus 1493-1541) The McGraw Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology [11] lists the following table: "Approximate Median Lethal Doses of Some Toxins per kg of Bodyweight" Toxin Dose Test Animal tetanus 1 nanogram mouse, probably human botulinal neurotoxin 1 nanogram mouse, human shigella 1 nanogram monkey, human shigella 1 microgram mouse ricin 1 microgram human diphtheria 100 nanograms human diphtheria 1.6 milligrams mouse Ricin is a toxin lectin and hemagglutinin isolated from the castor bean. Merck reports the lethal dose in mice as 1 microgram of ricin D nitrogen (ip) per kg, and that ricin molecular weight is about 65,000. Ricin has been shown to contain four lectins, of which the RCL III (aka Ricin D ) and RCL IV are the toxins. Merck also reports the following LD50 per kg of bodyweight:- Toxin Dose Test Animal palytoxin 60 nanograms dog (iv) ( from coral ) 450 " mouse (iv) ( C129H223N3054 ) 50-100 " " (ip) saxitoxin 3-5 micrograms mouse (iv) ( from shellfish ) 10 " " (ip) ( [C10H17N7O4]2+ ) 263 " " (oral). tetrodotoxin 10 " mouse (ip) ( from globefish ) aflatoxin M1 332 micrograms duckling (oral) aflatoxin M2 1.2 milligrams " " aflatoxin B1 364 micrograms duckling (oral) aflatoxin B2 1.6 milligrams " " aflatoxin G1 784 micrograms " " aflatoxin G2 3.4 milligrams " " The complex structure of palytoxin is shown in Merck, and it is listed as the most toxic non-proteinaceous substance known. 10.6 Where can I find laboratory safety guides? The journals "Chemical Health and Safety", and "Journal of Chemical Education" have articles on many aspects of laboratory safety. Safety Officers and Laboratory Managers at educational institutions and companies are likely to have several guides, and a polite request should obtain a loan or copy of one, even if you aren't at that institution. There are several useful books. The most popular are:- CRC Handbook of Laboratory Safety [4] - good general discussion of laboratory safety issues. Hazards in the Chemical Laboratory [5] - good general discussion of laboratory safety concepts with data. Guidelines for Laboratory Design: Health and Safety Considerations [12]. - modern design concepts for new and refurbished laboratories. Laboratory Health and Safety Handbook: A Guide for the Preparation of a Chemical Hygiene Plan [13] - such a plan is required by OSHA, and additional examples may also be available from chemistry departments of local educational institutes. 10.7 Are contact lenses a hazard in laboratories? There are a lot of myths about the occupational use of contact lenses, many of which relate back to a Bethlehem Steel welder in Baltimore who, on the 26 July 1967, accidentally caused an arc flash that hit his hard contact lens. He waited until the next day to report eyesight problems, and an ophthalmologist found severe ulcerations on his cornea, but attributed the damage to the wearing of the hard lenses for 17-18 hours after the incident. The cornea healed completely in a few days, with no permanent vision loss, and investigators found no link between the damage and the arc flash, but the myth of the welder removing parts of the cornea with the lens, and consequently being permanently blinded, continues [14]. The banning of contact lenses from modern chemical laboratories is being reconsidered in the light of increasing evidence that case-by-case evaluations are more appropriate. Routine wearers of contact lenses may suffer " spectacle blur " when they switch to spectacles, and this temporary reduction in visual efficiency could result in the misreading of labels. Contact lenses are not eye protection devices, and OSHA believes that if eye hazards are present, appropriate eye protection must be worn instead of, or in conjunction with, contact lenses. There may still be some laboratory environments where the provided personal protection equipment does not protect wearers of contact lenses, and they will remain banned. There are three major areas of concern about the hazards of wearing contact lenses in chemical laboratories. 1. They can hold particulate or liquid material against the cornea. The modern soft contact lenses are considered suitable for most environments, except where heavily contaminated with metal particles. Hard contact lenses are not considered suitable for use in particle-contaminated areas. 2. Contact lenses can be difficult to remove after a chemical splash. This is a concern, and is one reason why wearers of contact lenses in laboratories should be obviously identifiable to first-aid and professional secondary care providers. The copious irrigation procedures with water ( whilst holding the eye open ) that should immediately follow chemical splashes may wash the lenses out, and trained staff can remove any remaining lenses later. Experiments with concentrated sodium hydroxide solution, sulfuric acid, acetic acid, acetone and n-butylamine have shown that contact lenses may actually provide some protection [14]. 3. Contact lenses may absorb and retain chemical vapours. This effect was not observed in the splash experiments above, and soft lenses have been shown to reduce the effect of acids, perhaps because tears can dilute the acid by the time it passes through the lens. Some chemical vapours may be absorbed and retained, but often exposure should be eliminated by personal protection equipment anyway. The January/February 1995 issue of Chemical Health and Safety had three articles on contact lenses, including an excellent article on how to prepare for, and act during, contact lenses emergencies [15]. All three articles note that changing technologies have resulted in improved lenses that may now be acceptable in many modern laboratories, however the merits of each case should be carefully examined before approval. The issue of contact lenses in laboratories is still being carefully reviewed, as there are also legal implications for both employers and employees, and laboratory safety literature should be monitored to obtain the latest perceptions [16,17]. ------------------------------

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