Environmental, Health and Safety Services

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)

Although formatting and layout may vary, the basic content identified below must be present. If a MSDS is received that does not appear to have adequate information, the manufacturer or distributor should be contacted for clarification.

Section I - Supplier's Information

  • The name, address, and phone number of the company that makes the chemical
  • The date the MSDS was prepared

Section II - Hazardous Ingredients/Identity Information

  • Hazardous components of the chemical, including mixtures, by their scientific and common names
  • Safe exposure limits for workers will include OSHA's Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL). The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists' Threshold Limit Value (TLV) is another common limit listed.

Section III - Physical/Chemical Characteristics

  • Physical/chemical characteristics may look very scientific, but the information in the section is actually very basic and important. It tells you what conditions will change the chemical's form, which could affect the type and degree of the chemical's hazard. You may need to consult the definitions section of this program for terms used for a better understanding.
  • This section also tells you how the chemical should look and smell under normal conditions.

Section IV - Fire and Explosion Hazard Data

  • This extremely important section tells you the chemical's flash point and its flammable or explosion limits.
  • It also tells you what to use to put out a fire started by the chemical, as well as any special hazards or firefighting procedures to be aware of.

Section V - Reactivity Data

  • This sections shows whether the chemical could react with air, water, or other chemicals. It also explains what conditions and chemicals to keep it away from.

Section VI - Health Hazard Data

  • This section provides critical information to help keep you safe. It begins by telling you how the chemical could get into your body (inhaling, swallowing, or through skin absorption).
  • What health hazards could result from exposure to the chemical, which can be either acute or chronic.
  • Emergency and first aid procedures to follow for accidental exposure to the chemical. You should always be familiar with this information in case something goes wrong.

Section VII - Precautions for Safe Handling and Use

  • Instructions for the correct way to handle, store, and dispose of the chemical.
  • Information on what to do if the chemical spills, leaks, or is released into the air. You should know this information before you use the chemical.

Section VIII - Control Measures

  • The protective clothing and equipment to use when working with the chemical.
  • The type of ventilation recommended when working with the chemical.
  • Any hygiene practices, such as washing your hands after working with the chemical, that you will need to follow to prevent accidental exposure.