Charles Edwin Reed, 90, a retired government chemist whose last position was with the office to technical services at the Commerce Department, died of cerebral arteriosclerosis May 11 of Holy Cross Hospital. He lived in Silver Spring.

He was chief of the medical and pharmaceutical unit in the technical industrial intelligence division. He retired in 1948. He then was a consultant for a number of years.

Mr. Reed was born in Washington Court House, Ohio. His father was an agronomist and the family lived on various farms in Ohio while he grew up.

He served in the Navy from 1908 to 1923, seeing duty in Mexico and Santo Domingo and World War I. He then was in the Naval Reserve until joining the Coast Guard in 1927 for a two-year tour of duty.

Mr. Reed worked as a civilian employe of the federal government from 1930, when he came to the Washington area, until 1948. In addition to the Commerce Department, he was with the Treasury and Interior departments.

Before World War II, he was an engineer in the office of the quartermaster general of the War Department. During the war, he was in the office of the chief of the chemical warfare service and then with the air chemical office of the Army Air Forces .

Mr. Reed was a member of the American Chemical Society and the Chemical Warfare Association.

He was a member of Stansbury Lodge No. 24 of the Masons and a noble of the Mystic Shrine. He belonged to the Albert Pike Consistory of the Scottish Rite.

His first wife, the former Marie Zannelli, died in 1961.

He is survived by his second wife, Mary C., of Silver Spring; a stepdaughter, Marie Garber, of North Huntington, Pa., five grandchildren and two Great-grandchildren. A stepson, William Robert Balderson, died last year.