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Sci.chem FAQ - Part 2 of 7

Sci.chem FAQ - Part 2 of 7 - Chemistry Forum

Sci.chem FAQ - Part 2 of 7 - Chemistry Forum. Discuss chemical reactions, chemistry.


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Old 01-15-2004, 09:07 AM
Bruce Hamilton
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Default Sci.chem FAQ - Part 2 of 7




Archive-name: sci/chem-faq/part2
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Last-modified: 22 October 1999
Version: 1.17


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
databases.

These databases cover all aspects of Chemistry, including CAS
Registry Numbers, and are accessible via the WWW.
[Only registered users see links. ] Chemical Abstracts Service.
[Only registered users see links. ] STN Introduction
[Only registered users see links. ] 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?

Searching

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.

[Only registered users see links. ]
[Only registered users see links. ]

Free search engines include:-

[Only registered users see links. ] Alta Vista
[Only registered users see links. ] Google
[Only registered users see links. ] Lycos
[Only registered users see links. ] Yahoo
[Only registered users see links. ] Infoseek
[Only registered users see links. ] Excite
[Only registered users see links. ] Webcrawler

Chemistry Overview sites

[Only registered users see links. ]
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.

[Only registered users see links. ]
The Royal Society of Chemistry maintains an excellent list of sites
containing chemistry-related material, and is a good starting point.

[Only registered users see links. ]
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;-
[Only registered users see links. ]
The University of Sheffield comprehensive listing of WWW Chemical info.
Over 2200 sites indexed as of September 1996.
[Only registered users see links. ]
List of Chemical Services and Resources
[Only registered users see links. ]
Comprehensive compilation of the NIST Chemistry WebBook, which
includes thermochemical, IR, and mass spectral data.
[Only registered users see links. ]
The World-Wide Web Virtual Library: Chemistry.
[Only registered users see links. ]
Gary Hieftje's site, covering many aspects of spectrochemistry.
[Only registered users see links. ]
Gary Wiggins' extensive compilation of WWW chemical sites.
[Only registered users see links. ]
Internet Journal of Science - Biological Chemistry
[Only registered users see links. ]
Chemical Abstracts Service offers a diverse range of information
with a search facility.
[Only registered users see links. ]
CambridgeSoft site, ChemDraw, glassware, clip-art
[Only registered users see links. ]
The Chemistry Hypermedia project, especially chemical education.
[Only registered users see links. ]
Another listing of Chemistry Internet Resources
[Only registered users see links. ]
The searchable Yahoo Collection of Chemistry Resources
[Only registered users see links. ]
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:-

[Only registered users see links. ]
[Only registered users see links. ]
[Only registered users see links. ]
[Only registered users see links. ]
[Only registered users see links. ]

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

Other Chemistry-related Resources

[Only registered users see links. ]
The Virtual Chemical Engineering Library
[Only registered users see links. ]
The Electrochemical Science and Technology Information Resource.
[Only registered users see links. ]
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.
[Only registered users see links. ]
Chemical Heritage Foundation site about history of chemical industry
[Only registered users see links. ]
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:-
[Only registered users see links. ]
Journal of Molecular Modeling
[Only registered users see links. ]
/MCTP_WWW_Bookmarks.html
Internet Resources for Science and Mathematics Education compiled
by Tom O'Haver.

Chemical Reference Spectra

[Only registered users see links. ]
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
Handbook
- 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:-
[Only registered users see links. ]

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.

[Only registered users see links. ]
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.
[Only registered users see links. ]
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:-
[Only registered users see links. ] Nature
[Only registered users see links. ] 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
[Only registered users see links. ] ACS Journal Index
[Only registered users see links. ] Chemical & Engineering News
[Only registered users see links. ] Chemical Health & Safety
[Only registered users see links. ] Analytical Chemistry
[Only registered users see links. ] Environmental Science
and Technology
[Only registered users see links. ] Journal of the American
Chemical Society
[Only registered users see links. ] Journal of Organic
Chemistry

Royal Society of Chemistry
[Only registered users see links. ] RSC Journal Index
[Only registered users see links. ] Journal of Chemical
Research
[Only registered users see links. ] Organic Process R&D.

Society of Chemical Industry
[Only registered users see links. ] Chemistry & Industry

The Bulletin of the Chemical Society of Japan homepage is also available
via the ACS publications page.
[Only registered users see links. ]

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
bill.

[Only registered users see links. ]
[Only registered users see links. ]
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).
[Only registered users see links. ] 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 [Only registered users see links. ].
[Only registered users see links. ] 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?

ftp://kekule.osc.edu/pub/chemistry/
Jan Labanowsky's server, also contains an archive of the computational
chemistry mailing list.
ftp://qcpe6.chem.indiana.edu/
QCPE archive
ftp://oak.oakland.edu/pub/simtelnet/
Dos and Windows public domain and shareware

7.7 What chemistry-focused mailing lists exist?

[Only registered users see links. ]
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.

[Only registered users see links. ]
The American Chemical Society homepage provides access information,
and additional email support is available via the following:-
[Only registered users see links. ] ACS Division information
[Only registered users see links. ] ACS expositions
[Only registered users see links. ] ACS membership information
[Only registered users see links. ] ACS national meeting information
[Only registered users see links. ] Reaction Times (college newspaper)
[Only registered users see links. ] ACS regional meeting information
[Only registered users see links. ] ACS state and local government affairs

[Only registered users see links. ]
[Only registered users see links. ]
The UK Royal Society of Chemistry, WWW and email address.
[Only registered users see links. ]
The UK Society of Chemical Industry.
[Only registered users see links. ]
[Only registered users see links. ]
The German Chemical Society (Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker, GDCh)
[Only registered users see links. ]
The Chemical Society of Japan ( English index )

7.9 How can I contact large chemical companies?

Check their WWW pages for information.
[Only registered users see links. ] Argus Chemicals
[Only registered users see links. ] Dow Chemicals
[Only registered users see links. ] Eastman Chemicals
[Only registered users see links. ] GE Plastics
[Only registered users see links. ] Hoechst
[Only registered users see links. ] Eli Lilly
[Only registered users see links. ] Monsanto
[Only registered users see links. ] Quality Chemicals
[Only registered users see links. ] Rohm and Haas
[Only registered users see links. ] Sigma, Aldrich and Fluka
[Only registered users see links. ] Sumitomo Chemicals

You can observe the naming conventions, so try [Only registered users see links. ] for
other companies not listed, and you can also try using the on-line version
of the Thomas Register.
[Only registered users see links. ]

7.10 How can I contact chemical suppliers?

Several major chemical suppliers now have on-line catalogues on the WWW.
[Only registered users see links. ]
Sigma, Aldrich, Fluka, and Riedel de Haen chemical catalogues
[Only registered users see links. ]
Acros Chemicals catalogue
Fisher Chemical catalogue
[Only registered users see links. ]
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.
[Only registered users see links. ]
[Only registered users see links. ]

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.

[Only registered users see links. ]
Thomas Register ( manufacturers and suppliers )
[Only registered users see links. ]
Sigma, Aldrich, Fluka and Supelco ( techware and books )
[Only registered users see links. ]
Fisher Catalogue ( general lab equipment )

7.12 How can I contact US government agencies?

[Only registered users see links. ]
telnet://fedworld.gov/
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
information."
gopher://marvel.loc.gov/11/federal/f...ency/executive
Executive Branch Gophers (Library of Congress)
[Only registered users see links. ]
National Institute of Standards and Technology
[Only registered users see links. ]
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (Searchable)
[Only registered users see links. ]
Department of Transportation
[Only registered users see links. ]
Environmental Protection Agency
[Only registered users see links. ]
Federal Communications Commission
[Only registered users see links. ]
Government Printing Office

7.13 Where can I find compilations of science humour?

[Only registered users see links. ]
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.
ftp://ftp.in.umist.ac.uk/pub/Text/scijokes.zip
[Only registered users see links. ]
A huge 500kB compilation of science jokes regularly posted to Usenet.
[Only registered users see links. ]
Annals_of_Improbable_Research/
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
[Only registered users see links. ]
Sigma, Aldrich, Fluka and Supelco
[Only registered users see links. ]
Fisher Catalogue
[Only registered users see links. ]
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.

[Only registered users see links. ]
[Only registered users see links. ]
The comprehensive Vermont SIRI location is an excellent first port of
call when searching for chemical safety information. ~180,000 MSDS
[Only registered users see links. ]
The Cornell site mirrors the Vermont SIRI site and also contains the
US Department of Defence CD-ROM MSDS. ~325,000 MSDS
[Only registered users see links. ]
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.
[Only registered users see links. ]
CambridgeSoft Corporation's Chemfinder free searching server will also
locate safety information for chemicals, including ~60,000 MSDS.
[Only registered users see links. ]
The Fisher Scientific Chemical Catalog is available online. In addition
to MSDSs, you can order chemicals.
[Only registered users see links. ]
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?

[Only registered users see links. ]
[Only registered users see links. ]
The comprehensive Vermont SIRI location is an excellent first port of
call when searching for chemical safety information.
[Only registered users see links. ]
CambridgeSoft Corporation's Chemfinder free searching server will
also locate safety information on chemicals, including MSDS.
[Only registered users see links. ]
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
[Only registered users see links. ]
Medline, a medical database maintained by the NIH
telnet://Dialog.com

8.3 Where can I find occupational exposure limits?

[Only registered users see links. ]
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.
[Only registered users see links. ]
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.
[Only registered users see links. ]
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?

[Only registered users see links. ]
Carolla Christie of Christie Communications maintains an excellent
list of environmental and occupational health and safety information
resources available on the Internet.
[Only registered users see links. ] 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.
[Only registered users see links. ]
The ACS division of Chemical Health and Safety homepage.
[Only registered users see links. ]
The Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
[Only registered users see links. ]
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.
[Only registered users see links. ]
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 soc.history.science 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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