The National Library of Medicine's (NLM) Toxicology Data Network (TOXNET) is a computerized system of toxicologically oriented data banks, offering a sophisticated search and retrieval package which permits efficient access to information on known chemicals and identifies unknown chemicals based on their characteristics. TOXNET files include: Hazardous Substances Data Bank (HSDB), Toxicology Data Bank (TDB), and Chemical Carcinogenesis Research Information System (CCRIS). Registered NLM users can access TOXNET by direct dial or through TELENET or TYMNET telecommunications networks. Average search charges (per hour) are $75.00 for prime time. For detailed information on TOXNET contact: National Library of Medicine, Specialized Information Services, Biomedical Files Implementation Branch, 8600 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20894. (301) 496-6531 or 496-1131.
Although you obviously shouldn't rely on industry data alone, it is sometimes useful to get the manufacturer of a chemical to tell you what's known about its hazards.
The Chemical Manufacturers Association makes available a toll free telephone number that anyone in the general public can use to gain access to non-emergency health and safety information about chemicals. This service, the Chemical Referral Center (CRC), is available by calling 800-CMA-8200 Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 9 PM est. When an inquiry comes into the Center about a chemical, the operator first determines that it is not an emergency. Emergencies are referred to a different service, called CHEMTREC, which gives emergency personnel detailed information on how to handle the incident. If the inquiry is not an emergency, the operator finds out the name of the company that manufactures the product in question. Working from a computerized index of over 110,000 trade name products, the operator gives the caller the address and phone number of the company person to call. That person will provide the specific health and safety information asked for.
For more information about the Chemical Referral Center contact Fran Griffin at (202) 887-1318.
--Peter Montague, Ph.D.
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