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Household products database.

Each day most of us spray, spread, squeeze, pour, and shake any number of chemical products onto our bodies and into our home environments as part of our daily routines. Household shelves display a bounty of chemical products ranging from pesticides and drain cleaners to shaving cream and air fresheners. In 2002, U.S. consumers bought more than $20 billion worth of household cleaners alone. To provide consumers with a reliable source for information on how to safely use household chemical products, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) offers the Household Products Database, located at

The database, which is planned to be updated periodically, currently contains information on more than 4,000 consumer brands. (The initial brands included were selected based on market share and shelf presence in the Washington, D.C., and San Francisco metropolitan areas; today, users may nominate additional products for inclusion.) The site also offers contact information for manufacturers and poison centers, as well as a glossary of terms and acronyms used in material safety data sheets (MSDSs), access to toxicity reports, and other resources that consumers may consult for more detailed chemical information.

The Products page groups products into seven categories: Auto Products, Home Inside, Pesticides, Landscape/Yard, Personal Care/Use, Home Maintenance, and Hobbies & Crafts. Selecting a category pulls up a list of more specific product groups (for example, insulation-related items) and then a list of product types (for example, duct wrap or spray foam). Selecting a product type pulls up a list of specific brand-name products, each with its own comprehensive entry based on data from the product's MSDS. Visitors can also browse through an alphabetic product listing or search for specific products by brand name, type, or manufacturer.

Individual brand entries include complete manufacturer contact information, an overview of acute and chronic health effects the product may cause, recommendations for first aid, tips for safely storing and disposing of the product, and a listing of ingredients from the MSDS or product label. Each ingredient name links to more detailed information including synonyms, health studies done on the chemical, toxicity information in the NLM's TOXNET database, and chemical information in its ChemIDPlus database.

On the Ingredients page, information on product constituents can be accessed using either a chemical's name or its Chemical Abstracts Service registry number. Searches bring up information on the chemical as well as a listing of products containing that ingredient. The MSDS page allows visitors to search for information on specific health effects. Entering a health effect (for example, muscle pain or nausea) into the search field pulls up a listing of relevant products.

The website also lists other resources of interest including links to the Environmental Protection Agency Consumer Labeling Initiative and its site on hazardous products in the home, and to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.
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Title Annotation:ehpnet
Author:Dooley, Erin E.
Publication:Environmental Health Perspectives
Date:Dec 1, 2003
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