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IUPAC - International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry


The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) is an international, non-governmental organization whose purpose is to address many global issues involving the chemical sciences. Their web site is

The primary goal of the IUPAC is fostering worldwide communications in the chemical sciences. To accomplish this task, it is imperative that chemists across all sectors use a common language. IUPAC is the recognized world authority on chemical nomenclature (system of naming), terminology, standardized methods for measurement, atomic weights and many other critically evaluated data.

Additional Info

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IUPAC was formed in 1919 by chemists from industry and academia who recognized the need for international standardization in chemistry. The standardization of weights, measures, names and symbols is essential to the well being and continued success of the scientific enterprise and to the smooth development and growth of international trade and commerce.

IUPAC is an association of chemical societies that represent the chemists of 45 countries. Almost 1,000 chemists throughout the world are engaged on a voluntary basis in the scientific work of IUPAC.

IUPAC's focus includes:

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SDS Relevance

The IUPAC-approved name(s) of the chemical(s) in a material should (but may not always) be listed on a Safety Data Sheet and wil be found in Section 1 (identification) and/or Section 3 (composition/information on ingredients).

Chemicals named according to IUPAC nomenclature are unique and allow one to quickly find health or safety information unlike a chemical formula or trivial name. In one sense, IUPAC names function in the same way as a CAS number, although CAS numbers are usually much more compact.

A given chemical can be known by many other names, not just the IUPAC-recommended one. Some are referred to with shorthand slang, abbreviations, acronyms, and older or trivial names. For example, N,N-dimethylformamide is the preferred name for the molecule shown below, but it is also known as dimethylformamide, N,N-dimethylmethanamide, and DMF. Likewise, propan-2-one is the IUPAC name for a chemical that is also called dimethyl ketone, dimethyl carbonyl, propanone, 2-propanone, and many others, but is most commonly called acetone:

chemical structures of N,N-dimethylformamide and acetone

Regardless, no matter how many names a molecule has, each has only one unique CAS number.

Further Reading

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See also: chemical, chemical formula, organic.

Additional definitions from Google and OneLook.

Entry last updated: Monday, January 2, 2023. This page is copyright 2000-2024 by ILPI. Unauthorized duplication or posting on other web sites is expressly prohibited. Send suggestions, comments, and new entry desires (include the URL if applicable) to us by email.

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