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Chemical Safety Resources: Hazardous Properties of Chemicals

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

Searching for Books about Hazardous Substances

A 3 by 6 "Hazard Class" pictogram with 9 hazard symbols depicted in the pictogram.

The Library of Congress classification system groups books on a similar topic together through the means of the call number and controlled terms called "Library of Congress Subject Headings," or LCSH.  Books about hazardous substances tend to have the same subject headings attached to them, so, a search of Franklin for the following terms may turn up a variety of resources across Penn's 14 library units and online.

Be careful when searching for books to be sure that the book is not out-of-date; check the publication date!

While these headings do yield useful results, they are not the only ones that do, so, trying some keyword searches will also help retrieve helpful books on these topics.  Once you have found a helpful result, you can locate some alternate subject headings in the Library of Congress Subject Headings section of its full record.

A screenshot image of a list of subject and medical subject headings in the Library of Congress Subject Headings section of a book's record.

The virtual shelf browse option can also help to indicate other potentially useful books that are located in the same call number range and are therefore on similar topics.

A screenshot image of the "Virtual Shelf Browse" button. A Library of Congress Call Number is depicted inside the buttom. The call number reads, "RA1211 .R635 2005".


Databases of Hazardous Substances

The cover page for the "NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards". Includes hundreds of substances, their hazards, and what you should do to mitigate the risks associated with using them. Entries include the following information: Identification information and physical properties; incompatibilities, reactivities, exposure limits, and target organs; personal protection and first aid; and respirator recommendations.


The logo image for PubChem. The logo depicts a grey sphere with a hexagon shape in the center of the sphere and the word "Compounds" underneath the hexagon. PubChem contains a collection of substances that have been screened for biological activity. The records are deposited by scientists into the PubChem Substance database (which may, therefore, have redundant records for some substances) and are then curated by staff at the National Library of Medicine to form the non-redundant PubChem Compound database. PubChem Compound contains information about substances, their activity, and their properties, and some of the records include links to Laboratory Chemical Safety Summaries (LCSS).


A screenshot image of the logo for NIH, NLM, NCBI, PubChem: Open Chemistry Database, and Laboratory Chemical Safety Summary (LCSS). Laboratory Chemical Safety Summaries (LCSS) include information such as GHS (Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals) classifications and pictograms, identifiers and properties, hazards, safe handling information, and hazard avoidance and remediation information. It is not intended to replace the SDS for a substance, but it can provide useful information in an easy-to-use format. As of August 2016, there were 5060 substances in PubChem Compound that had an LCSS.


Resources of Physical and Chemical Properties of Substances

Books that Include Hazards Information About Chemicals

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