Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
Symbol of the Government of Canada

>Chemical Databases FAQs


Which Chemical Database Product is Best for Me?

MSDS is best for users who need safety data on specific chemical products used in their workplaces (for example, cleaners, paints, glues, laboratory chemicals). MSDS database will provide users with Material Safety Data Sheets on these products.

CHEMINFO provides detailed health and safe handling information on industrial chemicals and ingredients found in products.

CHEMpendium™ is best for users with a wider range of chemical data needs, such as for both workplace and environment safety, or for workplace, transport and emergency response. It contains numerous and distinct databases all searchable by the chemical name or CAS registry number.

RTECS® is best for users who need specific toxicity data on a large number of chemicals. Summaries citing irritation, LD50s, carcinogenicity tests, plus some regulatory data like exposure limits are available for a very large number of chemical substances.

What is the difference between direct and bibliographic databases?

Direct databases provide discrete information on a specific substance (e.g. for gasoline: physical properties, LD50, fire hazards, environmental effects, safety procedures, etc.).

Bibliographic databases list references and sometimes summaries of reports, journal articles, publications, on a particular topic. Sometimes the topic is a chemical. For example, a search on the subject of gasoline might provide a number of database records which reference printed sources on gasoline or topics related to gasoline (e.g. hazards of underground gasoline storage tanks, gasoline accident reports, incidents of gasoline poisoning).

Please contact CCOHS Client Services if you have further questions about these products and services.