Chemical Information Systems

About Plum

Plum (Public Library of Materials) is a free, open-access resoure for finding authoritative information about the known hazards of thousands of chemicals. Plum is designed to help chemical users - including workers, businesses, and the public - identify known chemical hazards in workplaces, products, processes, and supply chains.

Plum incorporates an extensive set of scientific and regulatory authoritative lists, which identify chemicals that are known to be hazardous to human or environmental health. Plum enables meaningful ways of navigating, searching, and filtering this information.

We are still in the process of building and improving Plum. We envision it to serve the following purposes:

  • A core resource for chemical alternatives assessment tools
  • A chemical screening tool for eliminating known hazards from production, operations, or upstream supply
  • A reference tool for workers and worker training programs
  • A form of technical assistance for the implementation of chemical policies

Key features include:

  • Transparency and Circulation: Plum provides up-to-date information about specific chemicals from a data set that is actively maintained and curated at UC Berkeley. We offer complete transparency as to our sources and methodology for providing this information.
  • Guided Navigation: Plum uses a "faceted search" navigation system, intended to maximize the flexibility and utility of Plum in a range of uses. Users can filter the entire data collection using the criteria that are most relevant to them.
  • Open Access: This resource is openly availabl to the entire global community. Given the increasingly globalized and interconnected nature of supply chains, we hope that open access to Plum can reduce environmental and health harm associated with tade and manufacturing worldwide.
  • Machine-Readable Data: All records are exposed in their entirety in open-source, machine-readable formats. Plum provides a platform for other applications and systems to fully use these data, supporting further innovation among the greater community of stakeholders committed to reducing the environmental and health impacts of synthetic chemicals.


The Grant

The Public Health Trust has awarded a $65,000 grant to the Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry to work with the UC Berkeley Labor Occupational Health Program and School of Information in developing  the online Berkeley Public Library of Materials (PLuM), a screening tool that will help workers, the public, and small businesses identify known chemical hazards in products and manufacturing processes and find safer alternatives.

Funding for the grant comes from the settlement of a lawsuit brought under Proposition 65, the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986.  The lawsuit involved allegations of public exposure to hazardous chemicals in airline fuel. The settlement directs the Public Health Trust, a program of the Public Health Institute, to use settlement funds for environmental protection, worker health and safety, or education on human exposure to hazardous substances.