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MSDS: What Are Material Safety Data Sheets

MSDS - Overview of Material Safety Data Sheets

A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is required under the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (regulations) , with guidance for employers (guidelines) . The MSDS is a detailed informational document prepared by the manufacturer or importer of a hazardous chemical.  It describes the physical and chemical properties of the product. MSDS's contain useful information such as flash point, toxicity, procedures for spills and leaks, and storage guidelines. For an explanation of the terms used in MSDS's, click here. Information included in a Material Safety Data Sheet aids in the selection of safe products, helps you understand the potential health and physical hazards of a chemical and describes how to respond effectively to exposure situations. Although there is an effort currently underway to standardizes MSDS's the quality of individual MSDS's vary. A MSDS may be useful but it can not substitute for prudent practices and comprehensive risk management.

If you need to write an msds see: How to Create an MSDS for Your Company's Product

For commercial product MSDS's - if you have a commercial product or formulation, rather than a simple, single chemical compound click this link for the products Material Safety Data Sheets, listed by manufacturer!

General Guidance and Directions

ANSI Version

The numbering in these directions applies to the ANSI version of MSDS, which is the preferred format (also used by Canada) , (see How to Create an MSDS for Your Company's Product ) but the differences are trivial and the directions are applicable to both MSDS's. Remember, in the United States, OSHA does not specific a particular format for the MSDS, only the content.

Here is a sample of the the new MSDS form, for free (right click and select "save target as" if you want to save a copy to your hard drive, where you can open it and work on it). 

Section 1. Chemical product and company identification

Links the MSDS to the material. Identifies the supplier of the MSDS. Identifies a source for more information. You must include the manufacturer's name.

Section 2. Composition/information on ingredients

Lists the OSHA hazardous components May also list significant nonhazardous components. May also include additional information about components (e.g., exposure guidelines)

You can patent your product to protect the contents, but you must disclose all hazardous constituents.

Section 3. Hazards identification, including emergency overview

Provides information on the potential adverse human health effects and symptoms that might result from reasonably foreseeable use and misuse of the material. May provide emergency overview.

Typically, this section is brief, one or two paragraphs.

Section 4. First aid measures

Provides instructions to be taken if accidental exposure requires immediate treatment. May also include instructions to medical professionals. This should include specific instructions to medical professionals; not general platitudes, like "seek medical help" or "apply CPR"

Section 5. Fire fighting measures

Provides basic fire fighting guidance, including appropriate extinguishing media. Describes other fire and explosive properties useful for avoiding and fighting fires involving the material, such as flash point or explosive limits.

Section 6. Accidental release measures

Describes actions to be taken to minimize the adverse effects of an accidental spell, leak or release of the material.

Section 7. Handling and storage

Provides information on appropriate practices for safe handling and storage.

Section 8. Exposure controls/personal protection

Provides information on practices, or equipment, or both, that are useful in minimizing worker exposure. May also include exposure guidelines. Provides guidance on personal protective equipment.

Section 9. Physical and chemical properties

Provides additional data that can be used to help characterize the material and design safe work practices.

Section 10. Stability and reactivity

Describes the conditions to be avoided or other materials that may cause a reaction that would change the intrinsic stability of the material.

Section 11. Toxicological information

May be used to provide background toxicological information on the material, its compounds, or both.

Section 12. Ecological information

May be used to provide information on the effects the material may have on plants or animals and on the material's environmental fate.

Section 13. Disposal considerations

May provide information that is useful in determining appropriate disposal measures.

Section 14. Transport information

May provide basic shipping classification information. [Comment: If any specific transportation label is required state it here. For bulk chemicals include the UN number. Otherwise just say "May be shipped normally as a nonhazardous matererial"

Section 15. Regulatory information

May be used to proved any additional information on regulations affecting the material.

Section 16. Other information

May be used to provide any additional information. [Comment: If you must include useless denials of responsibility, keep them confined to this section]


    Product Name:


    SECTION 1 - Chemical Product and Company


          Product Identifier


         [WHMIS Classification]


         Product Use


    Manufacturer's Name


        Street address


        City, Province/State, Postal/Zip Code


         Emergency Telephone Number


         [Fax Number]


    Supplier's Name


        Street Address


        City, Province/State, Postal/Zip Code


         Emergency Telephone Number


         [Fax Number]


         Preparation date of MSDS


         MSDS Prepared By


         Phone Number of Preparer


    SECTION 2 Composition/Information on Ingredients





    LD 50

    LC 50



















































    SECTION 3 Hazards Identification


    Route of entry:

        Skin contact

        Skin absorption

         Eye contact

         Inhalation

         Ingestion


         [Emergency Overview]


         [WHMIS Symbols]


         [Potential Health Effects]


    SECTION 4 First Aid Measures


        Skin Contact


         Eye Contact


         Inhalation


         Ingestion


    SECTION 5 - Fire Fighting Measures




        Yes - identify under which conditions


         Means of Extinction


         Flashpoint ( degrees C) and Method (oc or cc)


         Upper Flammable Limit (% by volume)


         Lower Flammable Limit (% by volume)


        Autoignition Temperature ( degrees C)


         Explosion Data - Sensitivity to Impact


         Explosion Data - Sensitivity to Static Discharge


         Hazardous Combustion Products


         [NFPA]


    SECTION 6 - Accidental Release Measures


         Leak and Spill Procedures


    SECTION 7 - Handling and Storage


         Handling Procedures and Equipment


        Storage Requirements



    SECTION 8 - Exposure Control/Personal Protection


    Exposure Limits


              ACGIH TLV


              OSHA PEL


        Other (specify)


    Engineering Controls (specific)

        General

         Local Exhaust

        Other (specify)


    Personal Protective Equipment (specific)     Gloves

         Respirator

         Eye

         Footwear

        Clothing

        Other


    SECTION 9 Physical and Chemical Properties


         Physical State


        Odour and Appearance


        Odour Threshold (ppm)


        Specific Gravity


        Vapour Density (air=1)


        Vapour Pressure (mmHg)


         Evaporation Rate


         Boiling Point ( degrees C)


         Freezing Point ( degrees C)


         pH


        Coefficient of Water/Oil Distribution


         [Solubility in Water]


    SECTION 10 - Stability and Reactivity


    Chemical Stability?


         No Identify under which conditions


    Incompatibility with other substances     Yes Identify which ones


         Reactivity, and under what conditions?


         Hazardous Decomposition Products



    SECTION 11 - Toxicological Information


         Effects of Acute Exposure


         Effects of Chronic Exposure


         Irritancy of Product


        Skin Sensitization


         Respiratory Sensitization



         IARC ((1, 2A or 2B)

        ACGIH (A1, A2 or A3)


         Reproductive Toxicity


        Teratogenicity


         Embryotoxicity


         Mutagenicity


         Name of Synergistic Products/Effects


    SECTION 12 Ecological Information


         [Aquatic Toxicity]


    SECTION 13 Disposal Considerations


        Waste Disposal


    SECTION 14 Transport Information


        Special Shipping Information

         PIN

    u TDG

         [DOT]

         [IMO]

         [ICAO]


    SECTION 15 Regulatory Information




         [OSHA]


         [SERA]


         [TSCA]


    SECTION 16 Other Information





     This product has been classified in accordance with the hazard criteria of the Controlled Products Regulations (CPR) and the MSDS contains all of the information required by CPR.


General Guidance and Directions

U.S. Version - The OSHA Form 174 Standard

Click here if you want to download a Word version of the 174 form or here for an RTF version .

Material Safety Data Sheet

May be used to comply with
OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard,
29 CFR 1910.1200. Standard must be
consulted for specific requirements.
U.S. Department of Labor
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
(Non-Mandatory Form)
Form Approved
OMB No. 1218-0072

IDENTITY (As Used on Label and List) Note: Blank spaces are not permitted. If any item is not applicable, or no information is available, the space must be marked to indicate that.

Section I

Manufacturer's Name Emergency Telephone Number
Address (Number, Street, City, State, and ZIP Code) Telephone Number for Information
  Date Prepared
  Signature of Preparer (optional)

Section II - Hazardous Ingredients/Identity Information

Hazardous Components (Specific Chemical Identity; Common Name(s)) OSHA PEL ACGIH TLV Other Limits Recommended % (optional)

Section III - Physical/Chemical Characteristics

Boiling Point   Specific Gravity (H 2 O = 1)
Vapor Pressure (mm Hg)   Melting Point  
Vapor Density (AIR = 1)   Evaporation Rate
(Butyl Acetate = 1)
Solubility in Water
Appearance and Odor

Section IV - Fire and Explosion Hazard Data

Flash Point (Method Used) Flammable Limits LEL
Extinguishing Media
Special Fire Fighting Procedures
Unusual Fire and Explosion Hazards
(Reproduce locally) OSHA 174, Sept. 1985

Section V - Reactivity Data

Stability Unstable   Conditions to Avoid
Incompatibility (Materials to Avoid)
Hazardous Decomposition or Byproducts
May Occur   Conditions to Avoid
  Will Not Occur    

Section VI - Health Hazard Data

Route(s) of Entry: Inhalation? Skin? Ingestion?
Health Hazards (Acute and Chronic)
Carcinogenicity: NTP? IARC Monographs? OSHA Regulated?
Signs and Symptoms of Exposure
Medical Conditions
Generally Aggravated by Exposure
Emergency and First Aid Procedures

Section VII - Precautions for Safe Handling and Use

Steps to Be Taken in Case Material is Released or Spilled
Waste Disposal Method
Precautions to Be taken in Handling and Storing
Other Precautions

Section VIII - Control Measures

Respiratory Proctection (Specify Type)
Ventilation Local Exhaust Special
  Mechanical (General) Other
Protective Gloves Eye Protection
Other Protective Clothing or Equipment
Work/Hygienic Practices
* U.S.G.P.O.: 1986 - 491 - 529/45775



Click here for household products master list

And if you are not a scientist, and are looking for general information about the safety of a common household product, you might want to try this search engine, Scorecard , rather than the list below.