> Why were ICSCs developed?
This is a very important question to ask for any chemical safety information source. The International Chemical Safety Cards were developed by the World Health Organization and the International Labour Organization, with the cooperation of the European Commission starting in the 1980's. They are intended to complement an SDS and specifically have "no legal status."
They are intended to provide information to the user of the chemical rather than addressing the legal aspects of its use. Unfortunately, as with most attempts to map chemical safety information, the resources required to keep up a collection of information are substantial, so there are about 1700 cards available today. So while ICSC's are likely to be useful for the chemicals they cover, their use can be limited in a diverse chemical setting such as a laboratory. Others on the list probably have more experience in using them in a class setting, but for the research setting, I focus on SDS's since they are more reliably available for the chemicals being used there. Similarly databases such as PubChem are able to supply similar information to ICSC's for a broader range of chemicals.
Thanks for asking an interesting question.
Ralph Stuart, CIH, CCHO
Environmental Safety Manager
Keene State College
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