The industries in which Chemical Engineers work are highly regulated. You may frequently need to refer to federal and state laws and regulations. Fortunately this information is easy to find - and free! (Your tax dollars at work.)
A couple of definitions:
Westlaw is a well known legal research database and a good place to start your legal research. If you have a citation to a legal case just type the information in the search box. A legal case citation will look something like this: 163 U.S. 537 or Mapp v. Ohio.
The US government has several websites for access to federal laws and regulations. (Your tax dollars at work!)
Some key legal publications:
Many of the laws and regulations impacting the chemical industry are connected to the enviroment. For information on major environmental legislation:
Official California Legislative Information
Search California Assembly and Senate bills, resolutions, and constitutional amendments. Includes status, history, votes, and analyses.
State of California. Office of Administrative Law
Search the California Code of Regulations (CCR), formerly known as the California Administrative Code. Several sections address environmental issues, including: Title 14, Natural Resources; Title 23, Waters; Title 26, Toxics; Title 27, Environmental Protection.
California codes and regulations can also be found on Westlaw. Select the State Materials tab.
Engineers probably use the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) more than any other legal publication. The CFR is a collection of regulations from the federal regulatory agencies: EPA, OSHA, Department of Transportation, etc.
The CFR is organized into TITLES. In legal publications like the CFR "titles" can be thought of as subject categories. For example, Title 29 of the CFR covers LABOR. It has regulations from the Department of Labor. OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, is part of the Department of Labor so many health and safety regulations are included in Title 29.
You can search the CFR for regulations on your topic. This is very easy to do as the entire text is freely available online. Go to eCFR; look for the SEARCH link in the left column.
Sometimes you will have a citation to a specific CFR section. A typical CFR citation looks like this:
29 CFR 1910.1001
You're looking for section 1910.1001 in Title 29 of the CFR. It's a regulation for asbestos exposure in the workplace. To find the regulation, go to eCFR. Select Title 29 - Labor as shown here:
When you get to the Title 29 screen, look for the link that will include section 1910.1001.
Remember, you can also search the CFR for more information about asbestos exposure or any other topic.