An MSDS is a technical bulletin detailing information about a hazardous chemical.
The federal standard that governs the design requirements of MSDS makes it one of the most comprehensive sources of written information for employees regarding chemical safety. There is no specified standard format for the MSDS but all required information must be included. The MSDS must also be written in English and, at a minimum, must contain the following:
- the identity (any chemical or common name) that is used on the container label;
- the chemical and common name of all ingredients having known health hazards if present in concentrations greater than 1%, and for carcinogens, if present at 0.1% or more;
- the physical and chemical characteristics of the hazardous components;
- the physical and health hazards including signs and symptoms of exposure and prior and/or existing contraindicating medical conditions;
- the primary routes of entry;
- any known exposure limits (OSHA PELs or ACGIH TLVs);
whether the hazardous chemical is listed in the NTP Annual Report on Carcinogens or is a potential carcinogen according to IARC or OSHA;
- precautions for safe handling and use, and procedures for spill/leak cleanup;
- control measures
- emergency first aid procedures;
- date of preparation, and
- the name, address, and telephone number of the company or the responsible employee distributing the MSDS.
When an MSDS is prepared, the chemical has to be evaluated based on the mandatory hazards determination requirements. When uncertainty exists concerning a chemical's hazards, the preparer should be conservative in the evaluation to ensure employee protection.