Project Details Gold Book Update of Terms for Chemistry and Human Health

Project No.:
Start Date:
01 March 2021
End Date:


The Gold Book in its present online form (S.J. Chalk, 2019) contains a number of terms relevant to the three subcommittees of the IUPAC Division of Chemistry and Human Health (Division VII), namely Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Design; Toxicology and Risk Assessment; and Nomenclature, Properties and Units in Clinical Chemistry. These represent a sampling of terms from a number of Recommendations published in Pure Appl. Chem. identified by the current editors of the online Gold Book (10 publications since 2009, and 16 from earlier years). In addition, recent books from the Toxicology Subcommittee of Division VII have added several hundred additional terms reviewed as Technical reports that are not presently included in the Gold Book. An assessment and consolidation of Division VII terms is necessary to maintain the integrity of the Gold Book.


The Gold Book is a major output of IUPAC, and is an essential reference for Chemists worldwide. A thorough update of its content is overdue, as is its presentation online, and this effort is being coordinated centrally in IUPAC with input from individual Divisions. Areas covered by the Chemistry and Human Health Division are central to IUPAC’s goals of furthering the role of chemistry in improving the human condition, and careful use of the relevant vocabulary is essential to that enterprise.

Step 1
A number of IUPAC glossaries, and perhaps particularly those of documents from Division VII, contain terms that are necessary in ‘stand alone’ reports, but are not in themselves specific to the domain of chemistry. Thus, Division VII glossaries contain a number of chemical terms, but many others that elaborate upon them using vocabulary from the cognate disciplines of biology and medicine.

It will thus be necessary first to decide which terms from the body of Division VII work belong in the Gold Book. In this we will be guided by our own judgment, and by consultation with other IUPAC bodies (particularly ICTNS), in deciding criteria for which terms are sufficiently proprietary to the subject of chemistry to warrant inclusion in the Gold Book.

Step 2
When a list of terms from Division VII has been decided upon for inclusion, a next step will be to correct each of these terms to current usage. As many of the terms predate recent publications, and usage in the human health and biomedical field is evolving rapidly, this is expected to be a significant part of the project.

Step 3
Although we expect exclusion to be one thrust of the project, developments in the fields of the Subcommittees can be expected to generate a number of suggestions for new terms for inclusion. These will require independent review, but will most productively begin during Steps 1 and 2.


Page last update 2 March 2021