CAS Numbers: Everything You Need to Know

Chemical compounds are characterized in many different ways including molecular formulas, chemical structures, generic, systematic, common, and trade names. This lack of clarity can cause irritation, huge delays, and even safety issues.

The CAS number is a unique identifier for chemical substances. It is used to identify and distinguish substances from one another. 

A CAS Registry Number is a unique and unmistakable identification for a specific compound that permits straightforward communication and, with the support of CAS scientists, connects together all of the information and studies that are currently accessible regarding that substance.

Because they are unique, easily verifiable, and internationally recognised, government agencies depend on CAS Registry Numbers for substance identification in regulatory submissions.

The CAS number is also known as the ChemID, Chemical Abstracts Service Number, Chemical Registry Numbers® or CASRNs®.

The CAS Number has a maximum length of 10 digits and is formatted as xxxxxxx-yy-z. As the CAS registers a new compound, they are allocated to that compound. 

A chemical can be more easily identified by its CAS Number than by name. For example, ethanol is mentioned in the chemical CAS 64-17-5. The names ethyl alcohol, ethyl hydrate, absolute alcohol, grain alcohol, and hydroxyethane are also used to refer to ethanol. All of these names have the same CAS Number.

Each CAS Number identifier:

  • Is a unique numeric identifier
  • Designates only one substance
  • It has no chemical significance
  • Is a connection to a wealth of information on a certain chemical compound.

The CAS number provides a way to search for information about the physical and chemical properties of a substance, its uses and potential hazards. It also allows chemists to find out if other researchers have already studied a substance.

What does a CAS Number look like?

A CAS Registry Number® consists of up to ten digits categorized into three groups by hyphens. Starting from the left, the first half of the number contains 2 to 7 digits; the second section has 2 digits. The last element is a single check digit.

The right-most digit serves as a check digit to ensure that the entire number is legitimate and unique. For example, the CAS Registry Number for caffeine is 58-08-2.

How CAS Numbers are Assigned to Chemicals?

When a material is added to the CAS REGISTRY database, a CAS Registry Number is given to it. Unique, novel chemicals discovered by CAS scientists are given numbers in sequential order before being added to the database.

What Type of Compound is Included in the CAS Registry?

The CAS REGISTRY includes a wide range of compounds, including the world’s biggest collection of:

  • Organic and inorganic compounds
  • Metals and alloys
  • Minerals
  • Coordination compounds and Organometallics
  • Elements, Isotopes, and Nuclear particles
  • Proteins and nucleic acids
  • Polymers
  • Non-structurable materials, as well as those with an unknown or changing composition, as well as biologics (UVCBs)

What Kind of Information Is Contained in Chemical Labels?

Labels are a way to indicate what is in the container.

Labels are used as a way to indicate what is in the container. They can be either physical or informational, and they provide information about what the chemical is, how it should be used, and any possible hazards associated with it.

Does the CAS Number Really Matter? How Much Do Chemical Formulas Matter?

As CAS numbers are unique and specific to each substance, they give an unequivocal method of identifying chemicals regardless of how they are characterized.

Chemical compounds are frequently characterized in a variety of ways, including molecular formula, shipping name, systematic name, and proprietary or trade names, to mention a few.

For example, Hydrogen Peroxide and Dioxidane are the same chemical compound, however, this may not be clear at first because they share the same CAS number.

From the standpoint of inventory and safety, the CAS number is a useful instrument that instantly provides users with trustworthy and accurate information about the chemicals in their hands.


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