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What is a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)?

A chemical identification system was developed requiring that every chemical shipped, used or stored be accompanied by a document giving specific details on the product for users’ safety. These documents are referred to as Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and are supposed to accompany every chemical or mixture of chemicals at every stage until they reach the user. The manufacturer of the product is responsible for compiling the MSDSs.

It is important that you do not use any chemical or mixture of chemicals unless you have the MSDS. This tells you what precautions are necessary to work with the substance and the prescribed response should something go wrong. INSIST THAT YOU HAVE IT, IT'S YOUR RIGHT.


Some of the information that you would find on an MSDS are: -

Chemical Identification and Manufacturer
• Name of the chemical as it appears on label
• Other trade or brand name used by manufacturers
• Common name by which the chemical is known
• Scientific name
• Manufacturers name
• Manufacturers address
• Manufacturers emergency contact number.
• Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) number. This is used for identification in situations of misspelt names etc.

Hazardous Components
1. Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) rating
2. Threshold Limit Value (TLV) rating

Physical Data
Vapour Pressure
Gravity
Appearance and Odor
Solubility
Boiling point
Vapour Density
Melting and Freezing Points
Evaporation Rate
Fire and Explosion
Flash point of a substance
Flammability or Explosive limit
Extinguishing Media Required
Reactivity
Stability
Incompatibility
Hazardous Byproducts
Health Hazards
Spill or Leak Procedures
Special Protection
First Aid



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