It is essential that you know the physical data and safety precautions for each chemical that you use in the organic labs. This information is contained in several places, including the bottle label, the MSDS, the lab handbook, and online sources. The main purpose of this page is to link you to online sources of chemical information.
The Internet has some excellent sites for chemical information. The following are recommended for general information on a compound. Another source of physical data and hazard information is the MSDS for that compound.
General chemical information
- CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics Online (especially Section 3: "Physical Constants of Organic Compounds"): Physical data and solubility for a wide range of organic compounds.
- SciFinder: the most useful place to find chemicals based on published reactions - you can limit by substructure, precursor, number of steps, reaction conditions, and so forth. Request a SciFinder account here.
- ChemFinder: Besides physical data, many links on each compound to other sites with information on the compound.
- NIST Site: The NIST site has the physical data for a lot of compounds, including spectral data.
- National Library of Medicine, Specialized Information Services: This has links to several databases and gives structure and lots of hazard information. It does have less emphasis on physical data than on physical properties. Some of its databases focus on drugs; it also links to journal articles about particular chemicals (usually medical-orientated).
Focus on safety
- The first place to check is the MSDS page.
- Toxicology and Environmental Health: includes a toxicology tutorial and links to databases such as Toxnet.
- Envirofacts Warehouse: Especially good, detailed safety information.
- Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
- CDC/NIOSH: health hazard evaluations
- Pocket guide: this is a great page
- Integrated Risk System, or IRIS
Focus on carcinogens
A compound needs to be on one of the following lists to be officially a carcinogen. Please also visit the organic chemistry toxicology nomenclature page, section on carcinogens.
- National Toxicology Program: The official list of carcinogens
- IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer)
Most of the information you will need in the lab courses is in the back of the Handbook for Organic Chemistry Lab, available in the bookstore, and on reserve in the Library. The information in the Handbook was taken from either the CRC, Merck Index, and/or Aldrich Catalogue. These are excellent printed sources for physical and hazard data on compounds. Each of these reference books is available in the Science Library and in the Organic Chemistry Stockroom.
- CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics (especially Section 3: "Physical Constants of Organic Compounds"), available at the information desk in the Science Library (in Norlin) and in the Organic Chemistry Stockroom.
- The Merck Index available at the information desk in the Science Library (in Norlin) and in the Organic Chemistry Stockroom.
- Aldrich Catalog Handbook of Fine Chemicals available in the Organic Chemistry Stockroom and in the Science Library.