Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) are generally prepared by a product’s manufacturer to provide information to the user on the physical and health hazards of the chemical or product. An MSDS must include the following information about a chemical or a chemical product:
1. Name of the chemical or chemical product;
2. Physical and chemical properties;
3. Health hazards of exposure;
4. Physical hazards of exposure;
5. Primary routes of entry into the body;
6. Exposure limits;
7. Indication of carcinogenicity;
8. Control measures (e.g., ventilation, personal protective equipment, etc.);
9. Handling requirements;
10. Emergency first aid requirements;
11. Date MSDS was written; and
12. Name, address, and telephone number of manufacturer.
Manufacturers are required to complete and revise MSDSs when new information becomes available. If information is not available, this should be stated on the MSDS. There should be no blanks on the MSDS. Each department is responsible for maintaining an MSDS binder with current copies of each MSDS and an inventory of materials used.
Individual MSDSs can be obtained from the MSDS link on the EH&S website or by contacting EH&S by phone, fax or e-mail. When requesting an MSDS, include the chemical or product name exactly as it appears on the label, and include the manufacturer’s name and address.
If an MSDS is needed after-hours and the EH&S Department is closed, contact your supervisor or access the MSDS through the EH&S website. Area supervisors are responsible for ensuring access to MSDSs when EH&S is closed.
If the MSDS is not received within 30 calendar days after a written request has been made, EH&S will notify the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries in writing with a copy of the original request, chemical name, and manufacturer. The Department of Labor and Industries then attempts to obtain and forward the requested MSDS to EH&S.
Each department is responsible for maintaining a current list of hazardous chemicals in a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) binder. MSDSs for each chemical used at the Center can be obtained online using the MSDS links on the EH&S website or by calling EH&S.
Most hazardous chemicals can be categorized into the following general hazard classes. Some chemicals fit into more than one category. The following definitions of these categories include potential health effects and examples of chemicals in each class.
A chemical with a pH of less than 2.5 (corrosive) that can cause severe burns of the skin, eyes, or digestive system. Examples include hydrochloric acid, acetic acid, and phosphoric acid (Uri-Solv).
A chemical with a pH of greater than 12 (may be labeled as a corrosive), which can cause serious eye and skin damage with contact. Examples include potassium hydroxide (Amsco Alkaline Detergent #18) and sodium hydroxide.
A chemical that produces an irritating effect when in contact with skin, eyes, nose, or respiratory system. Examples include sodium chloride, Freon, and ethylene glycol.
A chemical that can cause an abnormal immune response in an individual sensitized to it. Examples include epoxy resins, gluteraldehyde, wood dust, and formaldehyde.
A select carcinogen is a substance that meets OSHA’s definition of a chemical proven to cause cancer in humans or which is likely to cause cancer in humans (see Chapter III, Section 12.11). Examples include acrylamide, asbestos, benzene, formaldehyde, methylene chloride, wood dusts, and silica.
A suspect carcinogen is a substance for which the carcinogenic potential in humans is not known but for which animal and other experimental evidence of carcinogenicity exists. Examples include lead compounds, methyl mercury compounds, and urethane.
Gases can cause a wide range of toxic effects upon inhalation. Depending on the type of gas, the effect may occur rapidly or slowly. Common gas hazard classes include flammable gases, such as acetylene, methane, and hydrogen; simple asphyxiants (gases which displace air), such as nitrogen or argon; and chemical asphyxiants (gases which interfere with oxygen metabolism in the body), such as carbon monoxide.
A material that will ignite readily from common sources of heat, and that will ignite at a temperature of 600°F or less. Flammable liquids have a flash point below 100°F. Flammable solids ignite readily and have an ignition temperature below 212°F. Examples include gasoline, alcohols, and some paints and adhesives.
2.2.8 OxidizerAny solid or liquid that promotes combustion in other materials, thereby causing fire. Examples include oxygen, nitric acid, chromic acid, and hydrogen peroxide.
A chemical susceptible to undergoing a reaction or change that may result in dangerous side effects, such as explosion, burning, and corrosive or toxic emissions. Examples include acetyl bromide, cyanogen bromide, and potassium cyanide.
A material that causes illness or death if sufficient quantity is inhaled, absorbed, ingested, or otherwise introduced into the body. All chemicals are toxic in sufficient quantity. Toxic substances are those with an oral rat LD50 of between 50 and 500 mg/kg body weight. Examples include isocyanate paints and sealers, lead, and bleach.
2.2.11 Highly Toxic
A substance with an oral rat LD50 of between 1 and 50 mg/kg of body weight for the rat when administered orally.
2.2.12 Dangerously Toxic
A substance with an oral rat LD50 of <1mg/kg body weight.
2.2.13 Target Organ Effector
A substance with toxic effects that cause disease of a specific organ: liver, kidney, skin, nervous system, blood or hemopoietic system, lung, reproductive capability, or eyes.