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Written By: Jeanne Stellman, Markkanen, Pia, Osinsky, Debra
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Jump to Acknowledgements or Notes on the Tables

The Guide to Chemicals is designed to be a quick reference guide to approximately 2,000 chemicals which are of commercial interest. The chemicals have been divided into chemical "families" based on their chemical formulae. This division is somewhat arbitrary in that many chemicals can be classified into more than one family.

The reader who is searching for a particular chemical is advised to consult the chemical substances index in this volume to determine whether a chemical is covered and its location. The chemical substances index will also provide references to other chapters in the Encyclopaedia in which discussion of the chemical may also be found. The reader is referred to the chapters Metals: Chemical properties and toxicity and Minerals and agricultural chemicals for a systematic discussion of those elements and compounds and to the chapter, Using, storing and transporting chemicals for information on safe handling, usage, storage and transport of chemicals.

Each chemical family has a brief discussion of relevant toxicologic, epidemiologic or chemical safety information and four types of tables which summarize chemical, physical, safety and toxicologic data in a consistent format.

Because of page constraints, references for primary literature for the preparation of the textual materials are not provided here. The reader will be able to locate most primary data sources by referring to the Hazardous Substances Database (HSDB), produced by the US National Library of Medicine. In addition to the 3rd edition of this Encyclopaedia and the general scientific literature, the HSE Reviews published by the UK Health and Safety Executive served as a source of information. The Resources: Information and OSH chapter in this Encyclopaedia and the chapters mentioned above provide other general references.

The data on industrial uses of chemicals have been adapted from the 3rd edition of the Encyclopaedia and the HSDB. (For discussions of specific chemical industries, see the chapters Chemical processing, Oil and natural gas, Pharmaceutical industry and Rubber industry.)


This chapter is a collection of materials, some from articles in the 3rd edition of the Encyclopaedia of Occupational Health and Safety, which have been updated and consistently placed in tabular form.

The 4th edition contributors are:

Janet L. Collins       Pia Markkanen

Linda S. Forst         Debra Osinsky

David L. Hinkamp   Beth Donovan Reh

Niels Koehncke      Jeanne Mager Stellman

Kari Kurppa            Steven D. Stellman

Chemical structure diagrams which are given in the chemical identification tables were created using CS ChemDraw Pro and obtained from the ChemFinder Web Server, courtesty of CambridgeSoft Corporation (www.camsoft.com).

The 3rd edition contributors are:

M. V. Aldyreva        M. Lob

Z. Aleksieva            L. Magos

D. D. Alexandrov    K. E. Malten

G. Armelli                M. M. Manson

Z. Bardodej             P. Manu

E. Bartalini               J. V. Marhold

F. Bertolero             D. Matheson

G. W. Boylen, Jr.    T. V. Mihajlova

W. E. Broughton     A. Munn

E. Browning            S. Nomura

G. T. Bryan            K. Norpoth

D. D. Bryson          E. V. Olmstead

S. Caccuri              L. Parmeggiani

B. Calesnick          J. D. Paterson

N. Castellino          F. L. M Pattison

P. Catilina               M. Philbert

A. Cavigneaux       J. Piotrowski

W. B. Deichmann   J. Rantanen

D. DeRuggiero       D. W. Reed

P. Dervillee            G. Reggiani

E. Dervillee            C. F. Reinhardt

J. Doignon             V. E. Rose

H. B. Elkins            H. Rossmann

M. Evrard               V. K. Rowe

D. Fassett              N. I. Sadkovskaja

A. T. Fenlon           T. S. Scott

L. D. Fernandez-Conradi    G. Smagghe

I. Fleig                    G. C. Smith

V. Foá                    J. Sollenberg

A Forni                   M. J. Stasik

E. Fournier             R. D. Stewart

I. D. Gadaskina     W. G. Stocker

E. Gaffuri                F. W. Sunderman, Jr.

J. C. Gage              O. N. Syrovadko

P. J. Gehring           J. Teisinger

H. W. Gerarde         A. M. Thiess

W. G. Goode           A. A. Thomas

A. R. Gregory          T. R. Torkelson

P. Hadengue           T. Toyama

H. I. Hardy               D. C. Trainor

H. Heimann              J. F. Treon

E. V. Henson           R. Truhaut

A. Iannaccone         E. C. Vigliani

M. Ikeda                  P. L. Viola

M. Inclan Cuesta     N. I. Volkova

T. Inoue                   M. Wassermann

N. G. Ivanov            D. Wassermann

W. H. Jones            N. K. Weaver

F. Kaloyanova-Simeonova      D. Winter

B. D. Karpov            C. M. Woodbury

K. Knobloch             R. C. Woodcock

H. Kondo                 S. Yamaguchi

E. J. Largent           J. A. Zapp, Jr.

J. Levèque             M. R. Zavon

A. L. Linch              J. B. Zuzik

Notes on the Tables

The four types of tables found in each family are:

1. Chemical identification

These tables list chemical names, synonyms, UN codes, CAS-numbers and chemical or structural formulae. An attempt has been made to use the same chemical name for each substance throughout the discussions in this Guide and this Encyclopaedia, to the extent possible. No attempt has been made, however, to use only the nomenclature system of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC). Oftentimes the IUPAC name will be unfamiliar to those who work in a commercial setting and a less cumbersome and/or more familiar name is used. Thus the name which appears as the chemical name in the tables of each family is more often a "familiar" name than the IUPAC name. The list of synonyms given in these tables is not exhaustive but is a sample of some of the names which have been applied to the chemical. The CAS Registry Number (RN) is a numerical identifier used in each of the tables for consistent identification. The CAS number is unique and is applied to both chemicals and mixtures and is used universally and is in the format xxx-xx-x, which permits efficient database searching. The Chemical Abstracts Service is an entity within the American Chemical Society, a professional society of chemists headquartered in the United States.

2. Health Hazards

The data on short-term exposure, long-term exposure, routes of exposure and associated symptoms are adapted from the International Chemical Safety Cards (ICSC) series produced by the International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS), a cooperative programme of the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The abbreviations used are: CNS = central nervous system; CVS = cardiovascular system; GI = gastrointestinal system; PNS = peripheral nervous system; resp tract = respiratory tract.

The remaining data on target organs and routes of entry and their associated symptoms are taken from the NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards published by the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (1994, NIOSH Publication No. 94-116).

The following abbreviations are used: abdom = abdominal; abnor = abnormal/abnormalities; album = albuminuria; anes = anesthesia; anor = anorexia; anos = anosmia (loss of the sense of smell); appre = apprehension; arrhy = arrhythmias; aspir = aspiration; asphy = asphyxia; BP = blood pressure; breath = breathing; bron = bronchitis; broncopneu = bronchopneumonia; bronspas = bronchospasm; BUN = blood urea nitrogen; [carc] = potential occupational carcinogen; card = cardiac; chol = cholinesterase; cirr = cirrhosis; CNS = central nervous system; conc = concentration; conf = confusion; conj = conjunctivitis; constip = constipation; convuls = convulsions; corn = corneal; CVS = cardiovascular system; cyan = cyanosis; decr = decreased; depress = depressant/depression; derm = dermatitis; diarr = diarrhea; dist = disturbance; dizz = dizziness; drow = drowsiness; dysfunc = dysfunction; dysp = dyspnea (breathing difficulty); emphy = emphysema; eosin = eosinophilia; epilep = epileptiform; epis = epistaxis (nosebleed); equi = equilibrium; eryt = erythema (skin redness); euph = euphoria; fail = failure; fasc = fasiculation; FEV = forced expiratory volume; fib = fibrosis; fibri = fibrillation; ftg = fatigue; func = function; GI = gastrointestinal; gidd = giddiness; halu = hallucinations; head = headache; hema = hematuria (blood in the urine); hemato = hematopoietic; hemog = hemoglobinuria; hemorr = hemorrhage; hyperpig = hyperpigmentation; hypox = hypoxemia (reduced oxygen in the blood); inco = incoordination; incr = increase(d); inebri = inebriation; inflamm = inflammation; inj = injury; insom = insomnia; irreg = irregularity/ irregularities; irrit = irritation; irrty = irritability; jaun = jaundice; kera = keratitis (inflammation of the cornea); lac = lacrimation (discharge of tears);lar = laryngeal; lass = 1assitude (weakness, exhaustion); leth = lethargy (drowsiness or indifference); leucyt = leukocytosis (increased blood leukocytes); leupen = leukopenia (reduced blood leukocytes); li-head = lightheadedness; liq = liquid; local = localized; low-wgt = weight loss; mal = malaise (vague feeling of discomfort); malnut = malnutrition; methemo = methemoglobinemia; monocy = monocytosis (increased blood monocytes); molt = molten; muc memb = mucous membrane; musc = muscle; narco = narcosis; nau = nausea; nec = necrosis; neph = nephritis; ner = nervousness; numb = numbness; opac = opacity; palp = palpitations; para = paralysis; pares = paresthesia; perf = perforation; peri neur = peripheral neuropathy; periorb = periorbital (situated around the eye); phar = pharyngeal; photo = phtophobia (abnormal visual intolerance to light); pneu = penumonia; pneuitis = pneumonitis; PNS = peripheral nervous system; polyneur = polyneuropathy; prot = proteinuria; pulm = pulmonary; RBC = red blood cell; repro = reproductive; resp = respiratory; restless = restlessness; retster = retrosternal (occurring behind the sternum); rhin = rhinorrhea (discharge of thin nasal mucus); salv = salivation; sens = sensitization; sez = seizure; short = shortness; sneez = sneezing; sol = solid; soln = solution; som = somnolence (sleepiness, unnatural drowsiness); subs = substernal (occurring beneath the sternum); sweat = sweating; swell = swelling; sys = system; tacar = tachycardia; tend = tenderness; terato = teratogenic; throb = throbbing; tight = tightness; trachbronch = tracheobronchitis; twitch=twitching; uncon = unconsciousness; vap = vapor; venfib = ventricular fibrillation; vert = vertigo (an illusion of movement); vesic = vesiculation; vis dist = visual disturbance; vomit = vomiting; weak = weakness; wheez=wheezing.

3. Physical and chemical hazards

The data on physical and chemical hazards are adapted from the International Chemical Safety Cards (ICSC) series produced by the International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS), a cooperative programme of the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The risk classification data are taken from Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, 9th edition, developed by the United Nations Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods and published by the United Nations (9th edition, 1995).

The following codes are used: 1.5 = very insensitive substances which have a mass explosion hazard; 2.1 = flammable gas; 2.3 = toxic gas; 3 = flammable liquid; 4.1 = flammable solid; 4.2 = substance liable to spontaneous combustion; 4.3 = substance which in contact with water emits flammable gases; 5.1 = oxidizing substance; 6.1 = toxic; 7 = radioactive; 8 = corrosive substance.

The Recommendations are addressed to governments and international organizations concerned with the regulation of the transport of dangerous goods. They cover principles of classification and definition of classes, listing of the principal dangerous goods, general packing requirements, testing procedures, marking, labelling or placarding, and transport documents. Special recommendations address particular classes of goods. They do not apply to dangerous goods in bulk which, in most countries, are subject to special regulations. The following UN classes and divisions are frequently found in the chemical tables in this Guide to chemicals and in the chapter Metals: Chemical properties and toxicity:

Class 2—Gases

Division 2.3—Toxic gases: Gases which (a) are known to be so toxic or corrosive to humans as to pose a hazard to health or (b) are presumed to be toxic or corrosive to humans because they have an LC50 value equal to or less than 5,000 ml/m3 (ppm) when tested in accordance with 6.2.3. Gases meeting the above criteria owing to their corrosivity are to be classified as toxic with a subsidiary corrosive risk.

Class 4—Flammable solids; substances liable to spontaneous combustion; substances which in contact with water emit flammable gases

Division 4.2—Substances liable to spontaneous combustion: Substances which are liable to spontaneous heating under normal conditions encountered in transport, or to heating up in contact with air, and being then liable to catch fire.

Division 4.3—Substances which in contact with water emit flammable gases: Substances which, by interaction with water, are liable to become spontaneously flammable or to give off flammable gases in dangerous quantities.

Class 5—Oxidizing substances; organic peroxides

Division 5.1—Oxidizing substances: Substances which, while in themselves not necessarily combustible, may, generally by yielding oxygen, cause, or contribute to, the combustion of other material.

Class 6—Toxic and infectious substances

Division 6.1—Toxic substances: These are substances liable either to cause death or serious injury or to harm human health if swallowed or inhaled or by skin contact.

Class 8—Corrosive substances

These are substances which, by chemical action, will cause severe damage when in contact with living tissue, or, in the case of leakage, will materially damage, or even destroy, other goods or the means of transport; they may also cause other hazards.

UN Codes, identification numbers assigned to hazardous materials in transportation by the United Nations Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, are used to readily identify hazardous materials in transportation emergencies. Those preceded by "NA" are associated with descriptions not recognized for international shipments, except to and from Canada.

4. Physical and chemical properties

Relative density is measured at 20°C/4°C, ambient and water temperature, respectively, unless otherwise specified.

The following abbreviations are found: bp = boiling point; mp = melting point; mw = molecular weight; sol = soluble; sl sol = slightly soluble; v sol = very soluble; misc = miscible; insol = insoluble; pvap = vapour pressure; inflam. limit = inflammability limit (vol-% in the air); ll = lower limit; ul = upper limit ; fl. p = flashpoint; cc = closed cup; oc = open cup; auto ig. p = auto ignition point



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Part I. The Body
Part II. Health Care
Part III. Management & Policy
Part IV. Tools and Approaches
Part V. Psychosocial and Organizational Factors
Part VI. General Hazards
Part VII. The Environment
Part VIII. Accidents and Safety Management
Part IX. Chemicals
Part X. Industries Based on Biological Resources
Part XI. Industries Based on Natural Resources
Part XII. Chemical Industries
Part XIII. Manufacturing Industries
Part XIV. Textile and Apparel Industries
Part XV. Transport Industries
Part XVI. Construction
Part XVII. Services and Trade
Part XVIII. Guides
Guide to Occupations
Guide to Chemicals
Guide to Units and Abbreviations