Substance search instructions

The Répertoire toxicologique (toxicological index) search engine can be used to identify substances for which a data sheet has been prepared. Two types of search are possible: simple search (Recherche simple) and advanced search (Recherche avancée). You can toggle between the two search modes by clicking on the name of the search type, located at the top of the search panel.

Simple search

Simple search lets you query our substances databank by CAS registry number, UN number or a part of the substance’s name.


  • By CAS registry number: Simply enter the desired number with dashes, e.g. 50-00-0
  • By UN number: Enter the number with the letters “UN,” e.g. UN1294
  • Approximate name: Any other query in this search mode will be considered an approximate search and will look for approximate matches to the query term.

If a simple search yields too many results, we suggest you try using the advanced search mode.

Advanced search

To conduct a search in our chemical and biological substances databank, we suggest the following three approaches:

  • Search by exact name (Nom exact): Use this approach if you are sure of the name of the substance you are looking for. This is especially useful for the most common products, e.g. toluene (to avoid obtaining too many hits).
  • Search by CAS registry number (Numéro CAS): This number, which identifies one substance alone, is generally listed on the MSDS / SDS of commercial products. It must be entered with dashes, e.g. “50-00-0.”
  • Search by approximate name (Nom approximatif): Use this approach if you are unsure of the substance’s exact name. The search will look for all variants of the word as entered (with or without accents) within all the substance names recorded in the databank. This search generally yields a large number of hits.

The search engine is not case sensitive and automatically looks for all variants.

Also note that the search panel is specific to the substances databank only. To broaden your search to all information provided on this website, use the website search line (Rechercher sur le site) at the top of the page.

Detailed information

The left column of the search panel has drop-down lists for the first three boxes, allowing you to designate the criterion or criteria to be used in the search. The last line is for performing a query by chemical family (Famille chimique).

The expression you are looking for can be entered in the text input field to the right of the search criterion. To perform a search by chemical family, select a value in the drop-down list.

Two special characters are available as wild cards within the search engine:

  • The % operator can be used within a character string, or as a prefix or a suffix to the string. It replaces any number of characters at its insertion point. For example, to search for a word beginning with “eth,” you would enter “eth%” and the query would come back with the word ethanol, amongst others, whereas a search where “%eth%” is entered would yield methanol, ethanol, etc. A search with “ethyl%amine” would yield results such as ethylene diamine;
  • The underscore (_) operator matches any single character randomly. For example, a search with “sulf_te” will yield sulfate, sulfite, etc.

If you want to search for a name containing an actual % value, you need to enter the % character in square brackets, e.g. hydrochloric acid 37[%].

  • The exact name (Nom exact) search criterion looks for the term as entered, including accents. For example, a search with “ethanol” will not yield the name “éthanol.”

Searching with the exact name (Nom exact) is a more precise approach than searching by approximate name (Nom approximatif). However, if an exact name search yields no hits or unsatisfactory results, it may be useful to start over using the approximate name approach described below.

  • The approximate name (Nom approximatif) search criterion looks for the term as entered, with or without accents. This type of search yields the same results as when the % operator is added at the start, at the end and in place of each space in the character string used in the query.

It is generally preferable not to use accents when an approximate search is being made; the search engine will make the conversion automatically.

A search by approximate name (Nom approximatif) will yield a list of all substances with names that contain the characters as entered, regardless of where they are found in the expression.

For example, Toluene in a search by approximate name will yield the following results :

  1. Diisocyanate de toluène (TDI) (mélange d'isomères)
  2. Toluene diisocyanate (TDI) (isomers mixture)
  3. ToluèneDI
  4. ToluèneF1234
  5. Toluène
  6. Toluene
  7. Trinitro-2,4,6 toluène (TNT)
  8. 2,4,6-Trinitrotoluene (TNT)
  9. Toluène N3
  • A search by CAS registry number (Numéro CAS) looks for pure substances using the Chemical Abstracts Service registry name. Dashes are part of the CAS registry number and must be entered in the input field, e.g. 50-00-0. Wild cards “%” and “_” may be used.
  • A search by UN number (Numéro UN) looks for substances using the Transport of Dangerous Goods identification number, e.g. UN1294.

Additional search criterion

  • The molecular formula (Formule moléculaire) search criterion lets you search for pure substances using their chemical formula, as written according to the following rules: total number of carbon atoms first, followed by total number of hydrogen atoms, followed by total number of other atoms in alphabetical order. The sequence is entered without dashes, periods or spaces, e.g. C6H4BrNO2.

Displaying results

Four different formats are available for displaying information :

  • The default format is a data file that includes all collected information on the substance. Each section can be consulted by clicking on the appropriate tab. The file can be printed by section or in its entirety;
  • A PMSD (program for a safe pregnancy) format, which provides access to useful information for making a decision on application of the Safe Maternity Program;
  • A WHMIS (SIMDUT) format, which displays classifications based on the Controlled Products Regulations;
  • A summary (Résumé) format, available in both French and English, presenting the main risks associated with the product (available for a few products only).