Last week we were forwarded a notice about the request for comment from the NIH concerning future programing of the National Libraries of Medicine.
Here is the link to the request. About halfway down is a link to the specific questions:
Members of the CHAS executive committee have put together a response and are asking anyone in the membership who would like to contribute to this to please forward statements by noon tomorrow. The date for submittal of comments to the NIH is tomorrow. You can email me at the address below.
Here are the questions and responses we’ve prepared thus far:
Comment 1 Current NLM elements that are of the most, or least, value to the research community (including biomedical, clinical, behavioral, health services, public health, and historical researchers) and future capabilities that will be needed to support evolving scientific and technological activities and needs.
Response: The research community needs easy access to raw data about a broad range of chemicals and their associated hazards, information about toxicological responses following exposure to chemicals and information about the methods used to derive this data. These data will be used in developing scientific plans and proposals and developing risk assessments for novel experimental work. Databases that link hazard and risk of use to families of chemicals, such as CAMEO, are useful for the research community.
Comment 2 Current NLM elements that are of the most, or least, value to health professionals (e.g., those working in health care, emergency response, toxicology, environmental health, and public health) and future capabilities that will be needed to enable health professionals to integrate data and knowledge from biomedical research into effective practice.
Response: Health professionals need reliable, peer reviewed, information about chemical hazards, toxicological responses following exposure, personal protective equipment to use to protect against exposure and also when administering emergency response for both specific chemicals and classes of chemicals. This information will be used when informing others of these hazards and generating institutional policies and procedures. Integration with the Globally Harmonized System should be a high priority for this audience, as the GHS is necessary to organize this information in a unified, coherent manner and can aid in risk assessment.
ChemID Plus Advanced links to other databases, such as the Hazardous Substance database, and also pulls in information from other databases administered by the NIH. ToxNet, Cameo, Iris, PubChem and Wiser are used by health professionals and emergency responders that may need different platforms for receiving chemical information. But, a unified user interface that pulls data from all other tools would allow for more effective browsing and searching of this information. This would also integrate the terminology used by the various audiences about chemicals, their hazards and the risks associated with them.
Comment 3 Current NLM elements that are of most, or least, value to patients and the public (including students, teachers, and the media) and future capabilities that will be needed to ensure a trusted source for rapid dissemination of health knowledge into the public domain.
Response: The chemical information needed by patients and the public needs to be of the same nature as that which is used by health professionals although written in broader, less specific language. Databases such as Household products and DrugPortal are useful for this audience. The dissemination of this information should use lay terms with easy access to a glossary of those terms and support this audience in its interactions with health professionals and scientists. Integration with GHS, which uses pictograms to communicate chemical hazards to those who may not understand the descriptions or the language, can aid in the understanding by this audience. Teachers that need chemical information are introducing this to students who must gain understanding of the terminology used by the health professional.
In addition to direct access to these data, these audiences would benefit from educational materials that assist in understanding the logic of hazard identification, risk assessment and safety management related to these materials.
Laboratory Ventilation Specialist
Department of Environmental Health and Safety
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