an effort to make the workplace safer, the government and businesses
require that all chemicals in a building be accompanied by a Material
Safety Data Sheet.
This section lists basic information such as product name, number, use, manufacturer name and address, emergency phone number and shipping information. Additionally, it contains HMIS information, which is explained below.
HMIS stands for Hazardous Materials Identification System and it's a quick way to relay health, flammability, reactivity and PPE (personal protective equipment) information to the user. HMIS uses a 0-4 numerical rating system - 4 being most hazardous - 0 being minimal - to assess health, flammability and reactivity ratings. All chemicals have some degree of toxicity - Essential does not sell any products with a health rating of 0. PPE information is relayed in letters. For instance, C is for safety glasses, gloves and apron. A legend under each HMIS box explains each letter.
health ranking criteria (0-4) is developed using the OSHA definitions
of toxic and highly toxic. These are not just arbitrary rankings. Known
skin and eye irritation data are also used to rank the health hazard.
This section is the identity section of the MSDS. Every hazardous ingredient, as deemed by OSHA, must be listed on a MSDS if it is present in concentrations of 1% or greater. Chemicals considered carcinogenic must be listed if they are found in concentrations of 0.1% or greater. The Chemical Abstract Services (CAS) number found after each hazardous ingredient, is a different number that is assigned to almost every chemical known. This CAS number gives emergency personnel detailed information about each chemical present.
Also included in the Hazardous Ingredients Section, after every chemical listed, is a space for an OSHA PEL number. PEL or Permissible Exposure Limits are the air concentrations to which workers can be exposed for a normal 8-hour day, 40-hour work week without ill effects as defined by OSHA. This number is listed in Parts Per Million (PPM). Some chemicals, such as ammonia, have an OSHA PEL of 25 ppm, which is fairly low and indicates that exposure to this chemical should be very limited. Others can be quite high, like carbon dioxide, which has an OSHA PEL of 5000 ppm, indicating a rather harmless chemical.
Stability tells you whether the bonds that hold chemical molecules together are strong or weak and make the substance stable or unstable under various conditions.
Incompatibility refers to other substances (chemicals mainly) that should be kept away from the product on the MSDS. If a product contacts certain incompatible substances, the two may react and form a new hazard or may burn or explode and break down into newer hazards.
Hazardous decomposition tells you whether the substance can break down under certain conditions and release toxic or flammable vapors or gases. Windshield washer solvent, for example, breaks down and produces carbon monoxide when burned.
hazardous polymerization is a chemical reaction that can cause a fire
or explosion and sometimes release hazardous gases. Many burning plastics,
for example, release highly harmful hydrochloric acid.
bottom of this section is designed to give basic clean-up information
in case of a spill. Proper absorption techniques and disposal methods
are discussed here. Often times, for more hazardous spills, further
information on disposal laws vary from state to state. One rule of thumb
to remember is to always check with local authorities first if you are
not sure how to dispose of a spill.