EPA's ChemView: notes from introductory webinar

I was recently on an Intro to ChemView webinar hosted by GC3 and BizNGO. Speaker was EPA's Doug Parsons. As these things go, Parsons is great at getting information across. Am happy to say the 100 of us on the webinar came away with a good understanding of ChemView. Happy to share my notes.

ChemView is the user-friendly new database from EPA. It contains data on over 86,000 chemicals. This includes data from TSCA, Toxics Release Inventory, IRIS and the Chemical Data Reporting Rule. 1500 unique chemicals are stored with TSCA information.

The site launched in September. EPA is not quite finished populating ChemView, so if you do use it and information seems to be missing, it may be added shortly.

EPA is strongly soliciting feedback. How would you use ChemView? What would you like it to do? What features or user interface functionality would be useful? Please let them know. Next step in early 2014 is to get chemical data associated with Test Rules, SNURs and Consent Orders populated into ChemView. There will likely be several hundred more chemicals added in early 2014. It's slow, because it's a resource intensive process. Information must first go into spreadsheets, be cleansed, then uploaded. But it is happening.

Search results for a "Use Search"
The Search functionality is (at last!) easy to use. And sensible. Search by chemical name, CAS #, uses, chemical groups (which are EPA-centric), category, and endpoint. An endpoint is where you want to find out what information there is on say "developmental toxicity" or say "eco toxicity" for a certain substance: you simply search by chemical name and your selected "end points." (Nice feature.)

You can combine a Use search with an Endpoint search and a Chemical search. You can query for Design for Environment (DfE) data. And for info on Hazard characteristics. And so on. Also, fields and drop-downs autopopulate to make searching easier still.

ChemView utilizes a tiered approach to data viewing. This means you can search on a subject, say lung disorders, then drill down to get more information. This is a Brave New World of databases. And very useful.

Tiered approach:  ChemView "Top Tier" view 
(Right click on image and select "Open in new window" for a larger view.)

There will soon be new areas in ChemView such as a Dashboard. There will be Other Sources you can link to, such as Health Canada and OECD (coming soon).

Some questions - Q&A
The following were questions asked by attendees (partial list, there was a robust, live Q&A).

Q -- Will ChemView cross reference with other major lists? E.g. Washington, California, etc
A -- It's something talked about. (No commitments, but everyone agreed this would be a great feature.)
They are looking to make it a more holistic site.

Q -- What about a search by product and likely offending chemicals? For example:  in bathroom cleaners, there is likely to be x y z chemicals which are hazardous... that would be useful.
A -- EPA has same problem. Where are chemicals used and in what products? It's very very hard to know at the level of EPA. Not regulated "per use" so they don't know.
Q -- Could the data (usage data) be pulled from REACH databases?
A -- We're hoping companies will step up and share that kind of data [unlikely! - ed] but for now REACH databases are too confidential. I can say that data share ideas like this are being worked on. [But looks unlikely.]

Q-- If there is CBI, will that be indicated/notated?
A-- Sometimes. Meaning, you'll see an note that there is more information but it is confidential in nature, therefore not available.

Q-- Will the info in ChemView link to MSDSs at all?
A-- Info can be applied to SDSs, surely. [long pause] Possibly in the future there will be a linking ability.

(Highly recommend the webinar if you can get a copy or participate in the next one.)

The ChemView database is here.
Kathleen HurleyEPA, chemview, database