International Programme on Chemical Safety

INTOX Data Management System - Component databases

The INTOX Data Management System enables the compilation of databases for enquiries, substances and products. It also has data analysis functionality.

Enquiries database

This is called the Communications Explorer in the INTOX system. The Communications Explorer employs a standard format (Communication Record), controlled, defined terminology (Authority Lists) and internationally harmonized classification schemes (Use/Function Classification, Poisoning Severity Score). These features make it possible to compare data collected by different centres, both within the same country and internationally. More information about the authority lists and classifications can be found on the following web page:

Communication Record

The Communication Record is used for documenting enquiries to the poisons centre. The format and content of the Communication Record were developed by an IPCS international working group. This group took account of other, similar, work at an international level in particular that carried out by the European Association of Poisons Centres (now the European Association of Poisons Centres and Clinical Toxicologists, EAPCCT) and the Commission of the European Communities to develop a European Harmonized Annual Report.

Since the INTOX Data Management System may be used in different kinds of centres, with different needs in terms of data collection, a comprehensive record format was developed. Poisons centres can select from the master format those sections that are relevant for their needs. Additional customisable fields for local use are also included.

The document Guidelines for completion of the INTOX Communication Record provides an explanation of each field and the type of information that should be entered there.

Simplified, print-ready versions of the Communication Record are provided below.

Data analysis

Details of enquiries and cases that have been logged in the Communications Explorer can be analysed for clinical, scientific or administrative purposes. Reports can be produced for any time interval, using either pre-set reports provided with the system or user-defined reports. Thus, when a government ministry asks the poisons centre how many calls it has had about exposure to a substance and whether these exposures were accidental or intentional, the INTOX Data Management System can retrieve and present this information.

Substances database

The substances database is contained within the Agents Explorer component of the INTOX system. Separate, structured record formats are provided for chemicals, pharmaceuticals, plants, animals, fungi, bacteria and algae. Information can be written or pasted into the records and images can also be included. Part of the process of compiling the database involves establishing the preferred name and synonyms for each substance. This provides the means for ensuring consistency in data entry on cases of exposure.

The Agents Explorer and Communications Explorer are linked, so that a poisons information specialist completing the Communication Record online can jump immediately to the relevant entry in the Agents Explorer for the substance under discussion.

Products database

The products database is contained within the Agents Explorer component of the INTOX Data Management System. The product record format is based on the 16-field ISO (International Organization for Standardization) Safety Data Sheet for Chemical Products (ISO 11014-1). It includes fields such as product name, use, manufacturer’s name, product constituents and identification numbers. Once compiled, it is easy to search the database, for example, by product name or by ingredient. The full list of product data fields is in the document below.

A products database is useful not only to poisons centres. It can also form the basis of a national or regional chemical products registry for use by other institutions that need to have ready access to this information, such as government ministries, customs offices, regulators and the emergency response services.