Household Products Database|
New Information Service Provides Information
On Health and Safety of Everyday Products
Bethesda, Maryland The National Institutes of Health today unveiled a consumer's guide that provides easy-to-understand information on the potential health effects of more than 2,000 ingredients contained in more than 4,000 common household products.
Some household products contain substances that can pose health risks if they
are ingested or inhaled, or if they come in contact with eyes and
skin. The National Library of Medicine's (NLM) Household Products
provides information in consumer friendly language on many of these
substances and their potential health effects. For more technical
information users can launch a search for a product or ingredient
in TOXNET from the Product Page in the database.
the database is provided to NLM under a collaborative agreement
and is derived from publicly available sources, including brand-specific
labels and information provided by manufacturers and their Web sites.
The list of products covered will be expanded, and information for
products currently in the database will be updated at least annually.
"The Household Products Database is a natural outgrowth of the work that the
Library has done in recent years, educating the public about environmental
risks posed by chemicals in the air, soil and water," explained
NLM Director Dr. Donald A.B. Lindberg. "Last year, we unveiled Tox
a site that introduces consumers to the toxic chemicals and environmental
risks they might encounter in everyday life, in everyday places.
Tox Town looks at facilities like schools, office buildings and
factories, and the chemicals likely to be in them. With the Household
Products site, we go inside the user's home and provide information
about common products and their potential health effects."
Products Database enables users to learn what's in the products
under the kitchen sink, in the garage, in the bathroom, and on the
laundry room shelf. It is designed to help answer questions such
- What chemicals are contained in specific brands and in what
- Which products contain specified chemicals?
manufactures a specific brand? How can I contact the manufacturer?
- What are the potential health effects of the chemical ingredients
in a specific brand? · What other information is available about
such chemicals in the toxicology-related databases of the National
Library of Medicine?
For example, a homeowner trying to decide which
algae-killing product to use in her swimming pool could select the
"Landscape/Yard/Swimming Pool" category in Household Products and
click on "algaecide." She then could choose several brands to examine
for chemical content and possible health hazards.
The record for
each product would show her the ingredients from something called
the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). Designed to provide workers
and emergency personnel with the proper procedures for handling
or working with a particular substance, these sheets are produced
by the manufacturer of the product as required by Federal law.
Associate Director for Specialized Information Services, Dr. Jack
Snyder, said, "NLM has provided an important set of databases for
toxicologists and other scientists for many years. The target audience
of the Household Products Database, however, is both scientists
and the general public. The database allows users to browse a product
category, such as 'Pesticides' or 'Personal Care,' by alphabetical
listing or by brand name. Products can also be searched by type,
manufacturer, product ingredient, or chemical name.
Located in Bethesda, Maryland, the National Library of Medicine, the world's largest library of the health sciences, is a component of the National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services.