Database of hazardous reactions launched | March 20, 2017 Issue - Vol. 95 Issue 12 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 95 Issue 12 | News of The Week
Issue Date: March 20, 2017 | Web Date: March 14, 2017

Database of hazardous reactions launched

Tool allows scientists to submit and search for safety information not publicly cataloged elsewhere
Department: Science & Technology
Keywords: safety, lab safety, informatics, business
A screen shot of a reaction entry in the Chemical Safety Library.
Credit: Pistoia Alliance
Screen shot of a reaction entry in the Chemical Safety Library.
A screen shot of a reaction entry in the Chemical Safety Library.
Credit: Pistoia Alliance

A nonprofit group today released a database tool chemists can use to share information about hazardous chemical reactions. Called the Chemical Safety Library, the tool was developed by a group that included representatives from pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions.

“We feel this will be a valuable and unique set of data that is currently not available and should advance safety for all researchers,” says Carmen Nitsche, executive director for business development in North America at the Pistoia Alliance, which brings together companies, vendors, publishers, and academic groups to address research and development challenges in the life sciences industry.

The project started when chemists at Bristol-Myers Squibb were looking for a better way to catalog and share information about lab accidents and other adverse events. Eventually the project landed at Pistoia.

“I didn’t know if we were going to get any interest” in putting together the library, says Mark Manfredi, a business capability manager at Bristol-Myers Squibb. “But right from the first meeting, we had several organizations that were interested in participating.”

To use the Chemical Safety Library, chemists must first register for an account. They can then start entering reaction information, including specific reagents as well as reaction class, hazard category, scale, warning message, and additional information such as a literature reference. Pistoia worked with Millipore Sigma and Biovia to preload more than 75,000 reagents to help ensure accuracy. Library administrators review submitted reaction entries to ensure they are appropriate.

Chemists may search the library for particular reactions or reagents or even download the full data set. An organization could incorporate downloaded data into an electronic laboratory notebook system to issue an alert when a particular combination of reagents associated with a known hazard is entered. Bristol-Myers Squibb is already using the data in an electronic laboratory notebook system and an ordering system, Manfredi says.

Pistoia sees the current library tool as an experiment to gather information about the willingness of the community to populate and use the database, Nitsche says. Pistoia will analyze database use to determine the resources and technology needed to sustain the library long-term.

The library will be a “wonderful resource” for researchers to use as an additional source of information when doing hazard and risk assessments of experiments, comments Bettyann Howson, chair of the American Chemical Society’s Committee on Chemical Safety. ACS also publishes C&EN. C&EN plans to encourage scientists who submit safety letters to also enter the information into the Chemical Safety Library.

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Dave Erickson (March 16, 2017 9:07 AM)
I am an industrial hygienist at Michigan State University and am very interested in access to this type of data. In my 33 years on the job, there have been many accidents, explosions and fires at MSU from researchers who do not understand the physical and health hazards of the chemicals they mix.
William Penrose (March 17, 2017 12:44 PM)
Can candidate safety hazards be submitted here?
Jyllian Kemsley (March 20, 2017 9:08 AM)
Chemists can submit reactions to the library, yes.
Mrinal Kanti Paira (March 19, 2017 7:15 AM)
Good effort
Leah gamban (March 19, 2017 9:01 AM)
I am interested to access on this data as reference on my current work.
Avinash Daund (March 19, 2017 10:31 AM)
Nice and helpfull
Donald Probst (March 19, 2017 11:08 AM)
Now that the US has joined most of the rest of the world as a "first-to-file" country, I have a hard time believing a company's legal team would allow them to upload enough detail of the reaction to be truly useful. Similarly, if an academic lab is working on the first total synthesis of blowupamine and has an incident during the key step, I doubt they would release detail of that step until the synthesis is complete and published.
Timothy T.Mguntha (March 20, 2017 5:08 AM)
This is indeed a great job.It will be very useful for some of us who are full time working in laboratories.
Pawan Kumar Gupta (March 20, 2017 7:23 AM)
Dear Sir,
It is really good to see this news, I want to know how get access this database . is it free for the non-profit academics ? could you share the link.

thanks for creating this DB.

Jyllian Kemsley (April 3, 2017 10:39 AM)
@Pawan--Go to the Chemical Safety Library website (link in first paragraph) and click on register.
Jyllian Kemsley (April 6, 2017 5:12 PM)
Go to the Chemical Safety Library website (link in the first paragraph) and click on register.
Laura Arias (March 27, 2017 8:51 PM)
How can I get acces to this database? Is it free for science labs at a University? Would be very helpful for us. Thank you for sharing!
Jyllian Kemsley (April 3, 2017 10:38 AM)
@Laura--Go to the Chemical Safety Library website (link in the first paragraph) and click on register.

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