About the Chemical Hazard Data Commons

 

Mission

The Chemical Hazard Data Commons provides resources to assess and compare human and environmental health hazards of different chemicals, plus tools to collaborate to find safer alternatives. The goal of this effort is to reduce the use of hazardous chemicals and improve the inherent safety of materials and products. Our mission and vision is further detailed in a series of whitepapers.

Who We Are

The Data Commons is a project of the Healthy Building Network (HBN) a nonprofit founded in 2000 to reduce the use of hazardous chemicals in building products as a means of improving human health and the environment. The Data Commons project is comprehensive, not limited to chemicals used in the building industry.

Data Sources & Analyses

The Data Commons integrates the following data sources and analyses to show what is known about the hazards of chemicals and facilitate comparisons:

  • Hazard listings - Associations between chemicals and specific human and environmental health endpoints identified by governmental and professional authorities. Largely based on the Healthy Building Network's Pharos Chemical and Material Library. The Data Commons aggregates over 40 authoritative hazard lists. We constantly monitor the sources to keep up to date. For a list of all the hazard sources and to learn more, check out the Pharos system description, starting on page 9.

  • Restricted substance lists - Listings of chemicals whose use is restricted and/or managed by regulatory or corporate policy or subject to voluntary program guidance. Data Commons hazard tables reference over 30 restricted substance lists. To learn more, check out the Pharos system description, starting on page 20.

  • Exempt & Positive lists - Listings of chemicals that have been exempted from regulatory actions (such as EPA VOC exemptions) or are preferable for use for certain applications based upon an assessment of lower hazard (such as the EPA SCIL list). Beware, these lists generally have constraints - exemptions of preferences based on a limited set of health endpoints or for limited uses

  • List Screening - The Data Commons is an approved GreenScreen Automator assessing all chemicals in the database against the GreenScreen List Translator to generate LT scores identifying known chemicals of high concern. 

  • Hazard assessments - Toxicological assessments using the GreenScreen™ protocol that benchmarks the inherent hazards of chemicals across a broad range of health endpoints. The Data Commons provides access to all GreenScreen assessments published for public use.

  • Identification - Over 85,000 substances are listed in the Data Commons, searchable by over 150,000 CASRNs and synonyms utilizing the NIH PubChem database.

  • Physical properties - chemical formulas and some key physical data are drawn from the NIH PubChem database.

  • Compound groups - The Data Commons is the home of the Compound Group Population Project which creates structural or other definitions for the chemical compound groups referenced by authoritative hazard lists. We use those definitions to associate relevant CASRN with those groups to ensure comprehensive list screening.

The above data is summarized in the Profile tab for each chemical.

The Additional Resources tab for each chemical in the Data Commons provides direct links to that chemical in other databases providing further important information:

  • Release -  Releases to air, water, and land in the US are available from the USEPA Toxic Release Inventory database for almost 500 chemicals.

  • Contamination - Information on contaminated sites and remediation efforts around the globe are available from the Pure Earth Toxic Sites Identification Program Global Database.

  • And more - Links to other sites with information on chemical manufacturing, uses, physical properties, toxicity, exposure, REACH registrations, and more. Links include PubChem, ChemIDPlus, OECD eChemPortal, ECHA, and Pharos.

We are just beginning to provide links to publications referencing specific chemicals, now available in the Literature tab for each chemical as well as the Library page.

Get this data into your application

Most of the data displayed in the Profile tab for each chemical is available in an API for use in your applications. Contact us for API licensing information.

Collaborate

The Data Commons is not just a nice lookup tool. Discussions provide a place to discuss chemical hazard issues. The Data Commons is also a place for targeted collaborative Projects such as the Compound Group Population project mentioned above and a project exploring safer alternatives for chemicals used in plastic packaging.

Learn more

Roll your cursor over headings and titles and “?” icons and click on FAQs for more descriptive information about the sources used and functions provided throughout the site. The Help page provides more pointers. You also can view a webinar which describes the GreenScreen and introduces features of the Data Commons.

How are the Chemical Hazard Data Commons and Pharos related?

We are building the Data Commons as an expansion of the Pharos vision. The Data Commons is built on the Pharos database of scientific hazard listings and the GreenScreen list translator and assessment results calculated by Pharos and then complements the Pharos data with access to more data types and sources with a focus on alternatives assessment and collaboration support. Read more about the future of the Chemical Hazard Data Commons and Pharos.

Sponsors

The Data Commons is supported by the Forsythia Foundation, the Lisa & Douglas Goldman Fund, and the John Merck Fund.

Advisory Committee
  • Martin Mulvihill, PhD, Safer Made & UC Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry
  • Sally Edwards, Sc.D., UMass Lowell, Lowell Center for Sustainable Production
  • Catherine Bobenhausen, CIH, CSP, LEED AP BD+C, Vidaris
  • Mike Schade, Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families
  • Shari Franjevic, Clean Production Action
  • Annie Schmidt, Seagate
  • Anne Lebleu, Arabella Advisors
Managing Staff
  • Tom Lent - Policy Director
  • Michel Dedeo - Chemist
Engineering Staff
  • Jon Stavis
  • Sarah Gilberg
  • Terry Harvey

And, a special thanks to the following people, who have dedicated significant volunteer time to helping bring the Chemical Hazard Data Commons into being:

  • Akos Kokai
  • Ann Blake
  • Fred Cauthen