2013 Volume 4 Issue 3 Pages 185-194
Experimental laboratories in universities use various chemical substances that often involve risks depending on their properties and prescribed handling procedures. This study administered a questionnaire to quantitatively clarify the evaluation axis of chemical risks that the experts of chemistry in universities associate from the structural formula of chemical compounds. The survey queried respondents concerning the hazards of chemicals (toxicity, irritancy,inflammability, and overall hazardousness);respondents used a 5-point scale to answer questions aboutthe structural formulas of group A (familiar substances) and those of group B (non-familiar or fictional substances). For the compounds in group A, the answers were in good accordance with the extent of hazardousness according to GHS criteria,which suggests that the experts of chemistry well recognize the hazards of chemical substances for well-known compounds. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) for group B suggests that the structure-to-hazards image of chemicals for the experts of chemistry is comprised either by the analogy of the chemical properties of the compoundto well-known compounds, or by the overall structure (ex. number of carbons) or partial structure (elements, functional group) of the compound. In addition, the results of the correlation analysis between the “overall hazardousness” and the three specific hazards demonstrates that each axis for the image of “overall hazardousness” consists of the three hazards combined in a complex manner. Statistically being able to extract significant axes for the image of hazards common to the experts of chemistry, even though the experience of chemical usage should be individually different, implies that the "structureto-hazard" image in the experts does not form according to each expert's own individual experience but results through a common formation process.