|Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) are the
cornerstone of chemical hazard communication and central to the safe handling of hazardous
substances. They provide most of the
information needed to work with the material safely.
Hence it is important as well as a legal requirement that users have easy access to
them. Every hazardous material (listed on the chemical hazard inventory) must have a
corresponding MSDS, which is readily available to the user of the material.
MSDSs may be obtained by way of the following:
- in the shipment from
manufacturer as part of the purchase requirements
- from the manufactures hotline/fax/Web page
- from a web search of online databases
- from published
safety references at EH&S (for generic material safety data)
The manufactures are required by OSHA to provide MSDSs but
sometimes it is difficult to obtain information for old chemicals, from small companies
and consumer products. In general, the
preferred source for MSDS is the chemical manufacturer, because these files are actively
updated to reflect all that is known about the hazardous material in question. Most major chemical suppliers provide a toll-free
number and will fax the latest MSDS to purchasers. Material Safety Data Sheets are
also often available via the manufactures home web page.
As part of the purchase agreement, EH&S also receives
MSDSs for chemicals purchased by NMSU. These
are filed by substance and copies can be made. Requested
MSDS can be retrieved during the normal work shift.
Other sources of chemical safety information include online searches and
published safety references. Several
industrial and academic institutes have inactive search engines available. Safety references and chemical dictionaries (e.g.
SAX, Hawleys, or the NFPA Handbook to Hazardous Chemicals) can provide generic safety
information. EH&S has several handbooks
which you may review.
Understanding the information on an MSDS is important The following explains the information normally
provided on an MSDS:
Product Name and Identification
- 1. Name
of the chemical as it appears on the label.
- 2. Manufacturer's
name and address.
- 3. Emergency
telephone numbers: used to obtain further information about a chemical in the event of
- 4. Chemical
name or synonyms.
C.A.S. #: refers to the Chemical Abstract
Service registry number that identifies the chemical.
- 6. Date
of Preparation: the most current date that the MSDS was prepared.
Hazardous Ingredients/Identify Information
Hazardous ingredients: substances that, in
sufficient concentration, can produce physical or acute or chronic health hazards to
persons exposed to the product.
Physical hazards include fire, explosions,
corrosion, and projectiles.
Health hazards include any health effect, even
including irritation or development of allergies.
- 2. TLV:
refers to the Threshold Limit Value. A TLV is
the highest airborne concentration of a substance to which nearly all adults can be
repeatedly exposed, day after day, without experiencing adverse effects. These are usually based on an eight-hour time
PEL: refers to the Permissible Exposure Limit. The PEL is an exposure limit established by OSHA,
normally for an eight hour exposure.
STEL: refers to the Short Term Exposure Limit. The STEL is a 15-minute time-weighted average
exposure that should not be exceeded at any time during a workday. A STEL exposure should not occur more than four
times per day and there should be at least 60 minutes between exposures.
- 5. LD50
(lethal dose 50): lethal single dose (usually oral) in mg/kg (milligrams of chemical per
kilogram of animal body weight) of a chemical that results in the death of 50% of a test
LC50 (lethal concentration 50): concentration dose
expressed in ppm for gases or micrograms of material per liter of air for dusts or mists
that results in the death of 50% of a test animal population administered in one exposure.
- 1. Boiling
point, vapor pressure, vapor density, specific gravity, melting point, appearance, and
odor; all provide useful information about the chemical.
Boiling point and vapor pressure provide a good
indication of the volatility of a material.
Vapor density indicates whether vapors will sink,
rise, or disperse throughout the area. The
further the values are from one (the value assigned to atmospheric air), the faster the
vapors will sink or rise.
Fire and Explosion Hazard Data
- 1. Flashpoint:
refers to the lowest temperature at which a liquid gives off enough vapor to form an
ignitable mixture with air.
Flammable or Explosive Limits: the range of
concentrations over which a flammable vapor mixed with air will flash or explode if an
ignition source is present.
- 3. Extinguishing
Media: the fire fighting substance that is suitable for use on the substance that is
Unusual Fire and Explosive Hazards: hazards that
might occur as the result of overheating or burning of the specific material.
Stability: indicates whether the material is stable
or unstable under normal conditions of storage, handling, and use.
Incompatibility: lists any materials that would,
upon contact with the chemical, cause the release of large amounts of energy, flammable
vapor or gas, or toxic vapor or gas.
Hazardous Decomposition Products: any materials that
may be produced in dangerous amounts if the specific material is exposed to burning,
oxidation, or heating, or allowed to react with other chemicals.
Hazardous Polymerization: a reaction with an
extremely high or uncontrolled release of energy, caused by the material reacting with
Health Hazard Data
- 1. Routes
Inhalation - breathing in of a gas, vapor, fume,
mist, or dust.
Skin absorption - a possible significant
contribution to overall chemical exposure by way of absorption through the skin, mucous
membranes, and eyes by direct or airborne contact.
- c.Ingestion - the taking up of a substance through the
Injection - having a material penetrate the skin
through a cut or by mechanical means.
- 2. Health
Hazards (acute and chronic):
- e.Acute - an adverse effect with symptoms developing
- f. Chronic
- an adverse effect that can be the same as an acute effect, except that the symptoms
develop slowly over a long period of time or with recurrent exposures.
Carcinogen - a substance that is determined to be
cancer producing or potentially cancer producing.
Signs and Symptoms of Overexposure: The most common
symptoms or sensations a person could expect to experience from overexposure to a specific
material. It is important to remember that
only some symptoms will occur with exposures in most people.
Emergency and First Aid Procedures: Instructions for
treatment of a victim of acute inhalation, ingestion, and skin or eye contact with a
specific hazardous substance. The victim
should be examined by a physician as soon as possible.
Precautions for Safe Handling and
Spill Clean up: includes methods to be used to
control and clean up spills. Also includes
precautions such as to avoid breathing the vapors, avoiding contact with liquids and
solids, removing sources of ignition, and other important considerations. May also include special equipment used for the
Waste Disposal Methods: acceptable and prohibited
methods for disposal as well as dangers to the environment.
- Note: The methods recommended by the chemical
manufacturer do not necessarily comply with federal, state, or local regulations. Call EH&S for disposal or information.
Other Precautions: any other precautionary measures
not mentioned elsewhere in the MSDS.
Respiratory Protection: whenever respiratory
protection is needed, the type required and special conditions or limitations should be
- 2. Ventilation:
if required, the type will be listed as well as applicable conditions of use and
Protective Gloves: when gloves are necessary to
handle the specific material, the construction, design, and material requirements should
Eye Protection: when special eye protection is
required, the type will be listed along with any conditions of use and limitations.
Other Protective Equipment or Clothing: lists items,
such as aprons, not discussed elsewhere in the MSDS.
If you have other questions on MSDSs or
other problems concerning hazardous materials, environment, health or safety concerns,
call EH&S at 646-3327. Thank you.