Lab Safety


What is a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)?

A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is a document that contains information on the potential health effects of exposure and how to work safely with the chemical product. It contains hazard evaluations on the use, storage, handling and emergency procedures all related to that material. It is intended to tell what the hazards of the product are, how to use the product safely, what to expect if the recommendations are not followed, what to do if accidents occur, how to recognize symptoms of overexposure, and what to do if such incidents occur.

MSDSs should be the first source of information about the hazards associated with a chemical.

Typically, MSDSs will contain the following information, usually in separate sections on the sheet:

  • name, address, and phone number of manufacturer
  • chemical name, synonyms, and Chemical Abstracts (CAS) Number
  • physical properties
  • a listing of hazardous constituents for mixtures
  • health hazard information
  • first-aid measures
  • fire fighting measures
  • handling and storage precautions
  • exposure controls/personal protection
  • stability and reactivity

Newer MSDSs will contain the following additional information:

  • toxicological information
  • ecological information
  • disposal considerations
  • transport information
  • regulatory information

Page last modified May 10, 2010