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



What kinds of substances are in RTECS®?

Generally RTECS® includes drugs, food additives, preservatives, ores, pesticides, dyes, detergents, lubricants, soaps, plastics, extracts from plant and animal sources, plants and animals which are toxic by contact or consumption, and industrial intermediates and waste products from production processes. Users will not find Trade Name products representing compounded or formulated mixtures (pure chemical trade name products are listed).

There is a lot of detailed data in RTECS®. Is there a guide to the database where I can learn more about how to use and interpret this information?

The HELP system on the RTECS® CD-ROM includes a publication called "RTECS® - A Comprehensive Guide". This document provides information about format, content and policies of the Registry. It can help users to understand the meaning behind the content of each record (eg. the "Mild" category for the Skin Irritation tests means a well defined erythema and slight edema (edges of area well defined by definite raising) and the reason for its inclusion.

What is the difference between RTECS® and HSDB?

RTECS® contains toxicity and regulatory information on over 150,000 chemicals, while HSDB has a wider range of subject coverage (over 100 fields) such as medical surveillance, first aid, emergency response, safety measures, health hazards, etc. for 4,500 chemicals. RTECS® is a better choice if you need toxicity information on a very large number of chemicals, but HSDB is better if you need safety and other related details.

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