The Chemical Professional’s Code of Conduct

The American Chemical Society expects its members to adhere to the highest ethical and safety standards. Indeed, the Federal Charter of the Society (1937) explicitly lists among its objectives "the improvement of the qualifications and usefulness of chemists through high standards of professional ethics, education and attainments...” The chemical professional has obligations to the public, to colleagues, and to science.

"The Chemist's Creed," was approved by the ACS Council in 1965. The principles of The Chemist’s Code of Conduct were prepared by the Council Committee on Professional Relations, approved by the Council (March 16, 1994), and replaced "The Chemist's Creed". They were adopted by the Board of Directors (June 3, 1994) for the guidance of Society members in various professional dealings, especially those involving conflicts of interest. The Chemist’s Code of Conduct was updated and replaced by The Chemical Professional’s Code of Conduct to better reflect the changing times and current trends of the Society in 2007. A previous revision was approved by Council on March 28, 2012 and adopted by the Board of Directors on June 1, 2012. The current revision was approved by Council on August 24, 2016 and adopted by the Board of Directors on December 2, 2016.

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Chemical Professionals Acknowledge Their Responsibilities

To the Public

Chemical professionals should actively be concerned with the health and safety of co-workers, consumers and the community. They have a responsibility to serve the public interest and to further advance the knowledge of science. Public comments on scientific matters should be made with care and accuracy, without unsubstantiated, exaggerated, or premature statements.

To the Science of Chemistry

Chemical professionals should seek to advance chemical science, understand the limitations of their knowledge, and respect the truth. They should ensure that their scientific contributions, and those of their collaborators, are thorough, accurate, and unbiased in design, implementation, and presentation.

To the Profession

Chemical professionals should strive to remain current with developments in their field, share ideas and information, keep accurate and complete laboratory records, maintain integrity in all conduct and publications, and give due credit to the contributions of others. Conflicts of interest and scientific misconduct, such as fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism, are incompatible with this Code.

To Their Employer

Chemical professionals should promote and protect the legitimate interests of their employers, perform work honestly, competently, comply with safety policies and procedures, fulfill obligations, and safeguard proprietary and confidential business information.

To Their Employees or Subordinates

Chemical professionals, as employers and managers, should respect the professionalism of their subordinates, and have concern for their well-being, without bias. Employers should provide them with a safe, congenial working environment, fair compensation, opportunities for advancement, and properly acknowledge their scientific contributions.

To Students

Chemical professionals should regard the tutelage of students as a trust conferred by society. They should promote professional development, learning, and safety, and treat each student fairly, respectfully, and without exploitation.

To Colleagues

Chemical professionals should treat colleagues with respect, encourage them, learn with them, share ideas honestly, and give credit for their contributions. Chemical professionals should carefully avoid any bias based on race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity, presence of disabilities, educational background, or other personal attributes.  They should show consistent respect to colleagues, regardless of the level of their formal education and whether they are from industry, government or academia, or other scientific and engineering disciplines.

To Their Clients

Chemical professionals should serve clients faithfully and incorruptibly, respect confidentiality, advise honestly, and charge fairly.

To the Environment

Chemical professionals should strive to do their work in ways that are safe for the environment. They have a responsibility to understand the total impact of their work, to recognize the constraints of limited resources, and to develop sustainable products and processes that protect the health, safety, and prosperity of future generations.

To Temporary Employees

Chemical professionals should establish clear job descriptions, scope of work, terms of contract, and appropriate compensation prior to start of work by contractors, interns, or consultants.  They are also responsible for communicating safety concerns and providing necessary training associated with expected work.

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