This page of the Lab Safety guide contains search strategies and tips for finding chemical safety information. General search tips:
A CAS Registry Number, a unique identifier for a substance, enables you to do a more precise and comprehensive search than is possible if you are searching by chemical name.
While best efforts are made to publish accurate information, it is possible for information compiled to have typographical errors, be out-of-date, or collected under different experimental conditions. For that reason, it is important to search multiple resources to confirm safety information (e.g. 3 sources).
Chemical safety information resources often contain information about a single substance, not how that substance reacts with other substances. Use resources that contain reactivity information or do a reaction search to learn more about experimental conditions.
Copy the CAS Registry Number (CAS RN) so that you can use it as a search term in other databases.
Next, search Safety Data Sheetsdatabase by CAS RN and locate the safety data sheet produced by your manufacturer/supplier.
If there is more than on SDS by the same manufacturer for your compound, compare the dates the SDS was published and select the most recent version.
Because SDS sheets include limited information, you should always search other resources before doing laboratory work.
Use PubChem which aggregates safety information in Laboratory Chemical Safety Summary (LCSS) Datasheets for a compound.
Search PubChem by CAS RN.
Click on compound name in search results to view the full record and view the type of data available (e.g. spectral diagrams).
Click on LCSS link in the compound record to view chemical safety data compiled for a compound. Information includes data plus the source of the information. For LCSS data citing the 4th edition of Bretherick's Handbook of Reactive Chemical Hazards, consult the 8th edition of Bretherick's to view new information compiled about that compound.
Options for searching multiple resources at one time:
Knovel has several thousand handbooks, including many safety resources. Search results take you directly to the page where you compound is located in a book.
If your compound is listed in Sittig's Handbook of Toxic and Hazardous Chemicals and Carcinogens, the information compiled is several pages long so is a great resource to consult.
CHEMnetBASE data is highly curated (high quality control) and you are able to search multiple chemical dictionaries plus the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics at one time.
DeepResearchis a search tool enables you to search multiple science and engineering resources at one time, including full-text resources. Included are many chemical safety sources such as Bretherick's, CCOHS, and CAMEO. See the Libraries' page on DeepResearch for more information about how it works.
In-depth information sources:
Reaxys has extensive physical property information about compounds. Multiple values are listed for property data plus a link to references if you want to find more information about the experimental conditions.
SciFinder-n has both experimental and predicted property data for a compound that includes high quality spectral diagrams. Literature references are also included.
"Bretherick's Handbook of Reactive Chemical Hazards, Eighth Edition presents the latest updates on the unexpected, but predictable, loss of containment and explosion hazards from chemicals and their admixtures and actual accidents. The extensively cross-referenced book enables readers to avoid explosion and loss of containment of chemicals." (publisher's description)
Presents a collection of databases related to occupational health and safety. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) provide physical and safety data on chemicals manufactured or sold in North America. CHEMINFO provides safety information for important workplace chemicals. CHEMpendium compiles chemical hazard information from a variety of sources. Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) contains citations to the literature for thousands of chemical substances. OSH References is an index to journal articles and other literature related to occupational health and safety. Canadian enviroOSH indexes Canadian national, provincial, and territorial environmental and occupational safety legislation and standards. Several additional free resources are available through the CCOHS Web Information Service.
CHEMnetBASE is a collection of 11 cutting-edge interactive chemistry databases. One-stop searching allows users to perform searches on chemical terms on chemical structures simultaneously across all databases within CHEMnetBASE except for Polymers: A Properties Database. It is also possible to search individual resources within CHEMnetBASE.
xSearch is now called DeepResearch, and will continue to be the place to conduct searches for scientific literature, chemical safety information, and funding resources across many of the databases to which Stanford Libraries subscribes. DeepResearch will focus on science and engineering disciplines and features an interface which is cleaner and easier to navigate. It is an ideal tool for staying up to date on a field of research because with one search you can look across journal abstracts, patents, data deposits and more, and discover which sources may merit a deeper dive..
Knovel provides access to reference materials in the fields of engineering and applied sciences. Subject areas covered include: chemistry and chemical engineering, plastics and rubbers, semiconductors, advanced materials, and safety, health and hygiene.
SEARCH TIP: Search chemical name in PubChem. View details. The identification section includes a link to the Laboratory Chemical Safety Summary Datasheet.
The Laboratory Chemical Safety Summary (LCSS) is based on the format described by the National Research Council in the publication "Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Management of Chemical Hazards" (2011). The LCSS in PubChem contains pertinent chemical hazard and safety information. It is available when a GHS Classification (Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals) is present for a given PubChem Compound record. The GHS classification codes and hazard pictograms are summarized in the PubChem GHS page. The LCSS data from PubChem is freely available, and "can be downloaded as a data stream in bulk or on-demand from the PubChem website."
Reaxys Xcelerate is a fully integrated electronic chemistry database that contains organic, inorganic and organometallic substance, property, and reaction data for small molecules housed previously in the Beilstein, Gmelin, and Chemistry Patent databases, as well as Reaxys medicinal chemistry. Includes coverage from 1771-present for 400 journals. Coverage also includes English language-only patents from the major chemistry patent classes of the U.S., European, and World Patent Offices. Reaxys Xcelerate is a premium version of Reaxys that allows faster analysis of results using visualization tools, automates synthesis planning, and uses flexible reporting outputs for sharing their results and annotations with colleagues.
SciFinder is the most comprehensive database for coverage of chemistry & chemical engineering. It has the world's largest collection of organic and inorganic substance information. The web version of SciFinder provides integrated access to CAPlus, CAS Registry, CASREACT, CHEMLIST, and CHEMCATS which are produced by Chemical Abstracts Service, and to MEDLINE which is produced by the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Sources covered in SciFinder include 10,000 journals, patents from 61 patent authorities, book chapters, conference proceedings, dissertations, evaluated reference works, technical reports, as well as book reviews and biographical information.