Menu contact home

With the War on Drugs, the War on Terror, Draconian health and safety regulations and an increasing fondness for litigation, most laboratory chemicals are out of reach to those without a professional reason to use them. However, many chemicals with "everyday" uses are still available. This site gives an outline of chemicals that can be bought by private individuals and the companies that sell them.


Contents

List of Inorganic Chemicals

List of Organic Chemicals

List of All Suppliers


The List and How to Use It

This list should be regarded as a guideline, rather than a fully comprehensive directory of chemicals. Although there is nothing to stop you from looking up a chemical and following a link to a supplier, you can gain more by using the list wisely.

The given suppliers are only those that I happen to know of. They aren't necessarily any better than the many others I am almost certainly unaware of. By searching, you could well find a supplier both closer to you and better suited to your needs. Often much effort is required, but the results can be worth it.

Unfortunately, the lists of suppliers are heavily biased towards Britain and America. This is a simple consequence of the fact that I am British and many of the contributors are American. I want the list to be international, but I simply lack the time to search for suppliers around the world. However, for every British or American supplier listed, there are almost certainly equivalents in other countries. Although you may not find the given suppliers useful, they may give you an idea of what to search for.

For many chemicals, multiple sources are given. This is even done in situations where one type of supplier may seem vastly better than the others. This is partly done to provide diversity of supply, so that if one source dries up, there are others to take it place. Furthermore, any deliberate effort to make a particular chemical unavailable would be greatly complicated, as it would require interference in multiple industries. Another reason is to help those in countries where no supplier is listed; they may be able to find one type of supplier, but not the others. The final reason is that of personal choice. One person may regard a supplier that sells 1kg of a chemical for £10 as being vastly superior to a supplier that sells 100g for £5. However, a second person who has no use for the extra 900g may disagree. There are many similar issues, such as purity, speed of delivery and the availability of other chemicals from the same supplier.

Another way of effectively using the list, is to match your needs to what is available. If you can't find a particular chemical, you should search for related chemicals. For example, if you can't find a particular salt, you may be able to find a very similar salt (such as a potassium salt in place of a sodium salt), or the corresponding acid and base.

The lists define organic chemicals to be those having a carbon-carbon or a carbon-hydrogen bond. However, certain exceptions have been made when the categorisation made by the above definition is widely regarded as being inappropriate. For example, lead acetate and uranyl acetate are both classed as inorganic, as they are far more likely to be used as a source of lead or uranyl ions than acetate ions. Conversely, urea, thiourea, isocyanuric acid and trichloroisocyanuric acid have been classed as organic, as they all have a relatively complex carbon based structure. Likewise, tetrachloromethane is classed as organic by analogy with similar methane derivatives.

It should finally be noted that the list is written in English, rather than American English. Therefore, spellings such as "Aluminium", "Sulphur", "Sulphate" and "Caesium" are used instead of their American equivalents.


Contributing to the List

If you know of a good supplier in any country, please tell me about it. If a supplier you suggest has a large range of non-chemical goods, I would greatly appreciate it if you would list the chemicals that they sell, and the names that they are sold under. The process of extracting useful information from a catalogue is often interesting, but when done many times it quickly becomes tedious.

If you can see any mistakes, please inform me. All comments, corrections and constructive criticisms are welcome.

Please do not E-mail me to request information. If I know how to obtain a particular chemical or know of a good supplier, that information will already be listed. Furthermore, I do not sell chemicals.

Thanks must go to everyone who has contributed to this list, including the users of sci.chem and the Science Madness forums. Without them, this list would not exist.


Safety and Legal Information

Many of the substances listed are extremely dangerous (i.e. they are capable of causing death or serious injury if used without due care). Certain combinations of chemicals are also extremely dangerous, often in a manner that is independent of the risks of the chemicals in isolation. Amateur chemistry should not be attempted by anyone without a comprehensive knowledge of the subject.

Some of the chemicals listed could be used in the manufacture of drugs, chemical weapons or explosives. Therefore, the purchase of such items may possibly be reported to the police and so could potentially result in criminal investigation.


Response to Criticism

I have received correspondence questioning the wisdom of publishing this list. However, all the information given is freely available from a range of other sources. I have merely collected it at a single location. If this list was used for malign purposes, it certainly wouldn't have been essential. At most, it would have saved the perpetrators a relatively minor expenditure of effort (in comparison to the inevitably huge effort required overall).

It has also been suggested that some companies may not appreciate being listed. However, I have yet to receive a single complaint. After all, why should a business object to trade being put its way? Nonetheless, if a company did ask to be removed, I would do so immediately.

Another complaint is that by listing suppliers, I could cause problems for other amateur chemists. A particular concern is that law enforcement agencies may use the list as a starting point for persecuting amateur chemists. However, if the chemicals aren't used for anything illegal, there is little they can do. I know of no case where an innocent experimenter has been prosecuted for buying or using chemicals. A similar concern is that this site may somehow cause suppliers to stop selling useful chemicals. However, many of the suppliers are widely discussed on public internet forums, and this publicity has not caused any damage.


Disclaimer

All information on this website is to be regarded as a guideline only. I cannot guarantee, in any way whatsoever, the accuracy, validity or completeness of the information given. It is the responsibility of the reader to verify the information given, and to obtain all relevant safety and legal information. I disclaim liability for any damage, harm or loss caused by the use of information found on this website (regardless of its accuracy), including (without prejudice to the foregoing generality) death, injury, criminal investigation, criminal prosecution, civil prosecution, expenses incurred or damage to property. I do not approve or endorse the content of any third party site which may be accessed (by hyperlink or otherwise) from this website.