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MSDS forms are required for a wide range of products, chiefly chemicals, under laws of the U.S., Canada, and many other nations, to promote occupational health and safety. Material Safety Data Sheets are specific to each applicable product. They contain manufacturer contact information, hazardous ingredients, fire safety, explosion and reactivity data, health hazards, precautions for safe handling, and use and control measures, such as protection for skin, eyes or lungs. They are the more sophisticated cousins of the cautions-and-warnings labeling on consumer products.


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These documents, while helpful, are far from perfect, since they provide only information made available by the manufacturer, and tend to address acute high-level exposures to chemicals, but often do not discuss long-term effects of low-level exposures.

You’re not likely to encounter these documents for most household cleaning products unless you request them directly from the manufacturer when available, or purchase supplies from a janitorial store.

The U.S. government offers an online database that includes abbreviated information from the Material Safety Data Sheets of hundreds of products by brand name as well as additional information. This service is available at the Household Products Database, which is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.



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MSDS:  Created on June 4th, 2009.  Last Modified on November 6th, 2009


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