Last reviewed 17 February 2021

The Croner-i chemicals database contains over 110,000 chemicals records which are collated into single, comprehensive reference chemical charts. It is continually reviewed and frequently updated.

February 2021 updates

Updates and enhancements have been made within the chemical database for carcinogenic substances, with the addition of over 50 new records:

  • The most recent study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) focussed on the carcinogenicity of opium. There are an estimated five million users of illicit opium worldwide, including in Iran where two cohort studies provided strong evidence of excess laryngeal, lung and bladder cancer associated with this “recreational” use. IARC considered the evidence sufficiently strong to classify the smoking and ingestion of all forms of minimally processed opium as carcinogenic to humans (Group 1). Details are provided.

  • New records added to the database cover a range of inorganic compounds. These include some cobalt compounds, lead compounds, various forms of silica, and carcinogenic nickel-containing substances.

The database now has 23,118 links to unique registered substances in ECHA's dissemination database. These have been sourced from 101,332 dossiers.

The new 2020 Emergency Response Guidebook has been applied to the substance database. There are no new guide pages; however, there were many changes:

  • Guide 121 was merged with Guide 120. Products that referred to Guide 121, now refer to Guide 120.

  • The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission re-evaluated the Orange Guides for radioactive materials (Guide 161 to Guide 166) for technical accuracy.

  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) validated the Orange Guide for infectious substances (Guide 158).

  • The safety distances that were in the Public Safety section were moved to the Evacuation section. Now all safety distances in an Orange Guide fall under the same heading.

  • Added safety distances for ammonium nitrate on fire to Guide 140.

  • Increased safety distances for materials on fire in Guide 114 from 500m (1/3 mile) to 800m (1/2 mile). This was based on consultations with stakeholder subject matter experts.

  • Added CAUTION sentences for specific compounds. These sentences:

    • Describe inhalation toxicity concerns due to hydrogen sulphide gas in petroleum crude oil: Guide 128.

    • Describe proper firefighting and spill remediation techniques for liquefied natural gas (LNG): Guide 115.

    • Describe the explosive nature, even in the absence of air, of: Acetylene in Guide 116, Ethylene oxide in Guide 119.

    • Describe the hazards of an invisible flame for: Ethanol in Guide 127, Methanol in Guide 131, Carbon monoxide in Guide 168.

    • Describe the toxicity of pentaborane: Guide 135.

    • Describe the flammability hazards of some aerosols: Guide 126.

  • Some sentences were added, deleted, or changed to give the best available advice and use consistent and clear language.

  • References to highlighted and non-highlighted materials in the Evacuation section separated and the language simplified.

December 2020 updates

Details of some commonly used industrial chemicals have been added, most of which are EU approved food additives (ie have been assigned E Numbers. Many are also registered substances under REACH. Substances used as acidity regulators, antioxidants, anticaking agents, emulsifiers and stabilisers are included.

For WHO guidance on food additives, see the International Programme on Chemical Safety document EHC 240 Project to Update the Principles and Methods for the Risk Assessment of Chemicals in Food.

A list of current EU approved additives and their E numbers is available on the Food Standards Agency website.

The database now has 23,032 links to unique registered substances in ECHA's dissemination database. These have been sourced from 101,003 dossiers.

November 2020 updates

Exposure and health effects information, physical properties and suggested control measures have been introduced for a large range of pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Several hundred such compounds are produced by numerous flowering plant species which occur throughout the world. The majority of known pyrrolizidine alkaloids are hepatotoxic to animals and/or humans. Exposure occurs through contaminated food crops, honey, dairy products, meat, and herbal remedies.

Exposure and health effects information, physical properties and suggested control measures have also been introduced for a large range of bismuth compounds. Bismuth is generally considered less toxic than other heavy metals such as lead. However, bismuth intoxication has been observed from its use in medicine, with symptoms including gingivitis, decreased appetite, weakness, rheumatic pain, diarrhoea, black metal line on the gums, foul breath, and skin irritation. Kidney damage is possible. Toxicity of individual bismuth compounds varies, largely due to the properties of the anion.

In contrast to the relatively low toxicity of bismuth, some thallium salts and mixtures are also included. Thallium compounds are extremely toxic by ingestion, with major effects on the nervous system, cardiovascular system and skin. Acute exposure has been known to result in fatal poisoning, as evidenced by accidental or suicidal ingestion of thallium-containing depilatories or rat poison. The tastelessness of most thallium compounds has led to their criminal use as poisons.

The most recent study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) focussed on the carcinogenicity of some industrial chemical intermediates and solvents. This resulted in the classification of glycidyl methacrylate, a chemical mainly used in the production of epoxy polymers and vinyl and acrylic resins, as probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A). Also, the following compounds were classified as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B): 1-bromo-3-chloropropane, 1-butyl glycidyl ether, and 4-chlorobenzotrifluoride. Finally, allyl chloride, a chemical used in the production of epichlorohydrin, was considered not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans (Group 3).

A large number of new records covering chemical constituents of the herbal products kava extract, goldenseal root powder, and Gingko biloba extract have been added. All three of these traditional medicines have been classified by IARC as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B).

A range of new records covering both natural and synthetic furanocoumarins are also included. These substances cause photosensitisation of the skin and generally display a range of genotoxic effects in the presence of ultraviolet A radiation (UV-A). Some synthetic furanocoumarins have been used in the treatment of skin diseases such as psoriasis.

Also included are new records covering polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the acene and helicene series. Occupational exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) is generally to mixtures of these substances encountered in a wide range of activities, many of which are classified as carcinogenic to humans (IARC Group 1).

The most recent study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) focussed on the carcinogenicity of some aromatic amines and related compounds. This resulted in an upgrading of the classification of aniline, ortho-anisidine, and ortho-nitroanisole to probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A). Also, cupferron, an analytical reagent used in the quantitative determination of metals, was newly classified as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B).

New records covering radioactive materials including radon isotopes and decay products, and various iodine isotopes have been added. Radon is a significant cause of lung cancer, whereas radioactive iodine isotopes are clearly associated with thyroid cancer. All of these substances are classified by IARC as carcinogenic to humans (Group 1).

The RTECS database has been updated and now has a total of 192408 records.

The number of unique registered substances in ECHA's dissemination database has now risen to 22,726 sourced from 98,676 dossiers.