Scott Van Bramer
Department of Chemistry
Chester, PA 19013
In addition to MSDSs, there are some other resources that provide useful information in a format that is easier to understand. The NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards is very useful. You can use this database online from the CDC website or you can download the entire site as a zip file for local use. I have the entire database on my hard drive and I burn a copy onto a CD-ROM for my students. This database contains one page summaries for 677 different compounds and it is organized by name and by CAS number. Many of the summaries also include a link to the International Chemical Safety Cards.
Another source of safety information for common laboratory reagents are the Chemistry Laboratory Information Profiles published in the Journal of Chemical Education These have been compiled and are available from the ACS website. The compounds are listed alphabetically and the information for each is given on a one page pdf file. At this time there are 62 compounds in the database and additions are being made quarterly. The information provided is geared towards use in introductory chemistry laboratories and the information is easy for undergraduate students to use.
For more advanced laboratory courses, the ACS committee on Chemical Safety's publication "Safety in Academic Chemistry Laboratories, 7th edition Volume 1 Accident Prevention for College and University Students" provides much more detailed information. It is available as a pdf document from the ACS website. In addition to the basics covered in the brochure, this pamphlet includes accident prevention, chemical hazards, laboratory techniques, and safety equipment. It has a level of detail that is appropriate for a student in an upper level course or someone conducting independent research.
For a much more through treatment of laboratory safety, the National Academy Press publishes "Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Disposal of Chemicals (1995)". This seems to be the most referenced source of laboratory safety information around. The full text of the book is available online as a National Academy Press openbook. The openbook format is not ideal for reading the entire 427 page book, makes it very easy to search and quickly find important information.
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Last Updated 9/21/2004