Office of Environmental Health & Safety

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)

Hazardous materials are undeniably useful, whether used in pure form or as ingredients in manufactured products. Such materials are encountered in many areas of everyday life, including the workplace. Hazardous substances can enter the body through inhalation, eye contact, skin absorption, and ingestion.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) within the United States Department of Labor (DOL) states that all employees have the right to know the properties and potential hazards of materials to which they may be exposed during the course of their work. Such knowledge is essential to reducing the risk of occupational illness and injury.

Chemical labels and product labels give quick overviews of hazard information. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), written by the manufacturer and accompanying every chemical shipment, give detailed hazard information (physical and chemical properties, exposure limits, routes of entry, health effects of overexposure, personal protective equipment, etc.)

Your department should have copies of the MSDS for pure chemicals and manufactured products used in your workplace. You can get a copy of MSDS from Shaldon Watson, Chemical Hygiene Officer (Music Bldg B37A, ext. 8978), or access one of the online MSDS links listed on this site.

Last modified: Mar 13, 2012

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