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Chemical Safety Resources: Overview

Key resources in chemical safety and industrial hygiene recommended by EHRS and the Penn Chemistry Library.


Knovel ( a set of online monographs and reference books in many areas of science and engineering. It can be used early in the research process to become aware of general safety information for particular activities, processes, and substances, as well as later in research to learn more specifics about substances. 


  • The Knovel platform includes review treatises and handbooks of properties and other data on substances, so, it can be a one-stop shop for many types of information.
  • Once you have identified a useful text, click the  button to create a virtual bookshelf for future reference.


  • Knovel lacks a structure editor; therefore, structure searching is not possible.
  • The editions of key texts are not always the most recent ones available; check to be sure Penn does not have access to a more updated edition in print or online from another vendor.
  • Check the publication date of information to be sure that it is recent enough to be of use.
  • Different sources employ different identifiers substances (name, CAS RN, formula, etc.); be sure that you are trying a variety of identifiers if you wish to get comprehensive results.

There are several ways that you can find health, safety, and hazards information using Knovel.

Prudent Practices in the Laboratory

CAMEO Chemicals

CAMEO Chemicals (http:// a free tool available from NOAA and the EPA that allows users to access the safety risks and hazards associated with specific chemicals and classes of chemicals, as well as predict reactivity between them.  You can use CAMEO Chemicals online (, you can use its mobile site (, and you can also download the database for off-line use (  There is also an app for tablets and mobile phones.


  • This is the only resource that allows you to search for predicted interactions between two chemicals or classes of chemicals.
  • Safety profiles are concise, standardized, and easy to read
  • Easy to generate and export lists of substances and their predicted interactions


  • Reactivity is predicted and has not been experimentally determined

The help files within CAMEO Chemicals are very nice (, particularly the one about how to use physical clues to determine the identity of an unknown substance and how to search CAMEO Chemicals for that substance (

ACS Committee on Chemical Safety

The ACS Committee on Chemical Safety has a mission to "promote and facilitate safe practices in chemical activities," giving "advice and counsel to ensure safety by calling attention to potential hazards and stimulating education in safe chemical practices" (, accessed August 26, 2016).  They have a wealth of information available on their Web site.  Some of the more generally applicable tools are linked below.

For More Assistance

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Judith Currano
1973 Wing, Chemistry Laboratories

The Safety Zone

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