An example MSDS in a US format
Section 1. Chemical product and company identification
Links the MSDS to the material. Identifies the supplier of the MSDS. Identifies a source for more information.
[Comment: A suprising number of MSDSs on the Internet fail to state the manufacturer's name, which is required by OSHA.]
Section 2. Composition/information on ingredients
Lists the OSHA hazardous components May also list significant nonhazardous components. May also include additional information about components (e.g., exposure guidelines)
[Comment: If the main reason you restrict accesss to your MSDS is that you don't want anyone to steal your formulation, you could patent it, or simply list the components as proprietary. If it really has hazardous materials in it, you can't keep that a secret.
Section 3. Hazards identification, including emergency overview
May provide emergency overview. Provides information on the potential adverse human health effects and symptoms that might result from reasonably foreseeable use and misuse of the material
[Comment: this section should be at most 10 lines, and is unnecessary if you haven't gone overboard on the rest of the MSDS]
Section 4. First aid measures
Provides instructions to be taken if accidental exposure requires immediate treatment. May also include instructions to medical professionals.
[Comment: Better include instructions to medical professionals. If you think a doctor knows any more than you do about the hazards of ingesting "Joe's paint remover", good luck. Instructions should be short and to the point, e.g.: "Supportive measures only", "Activated charcoal recommended for all ingestions", "Induce vomiting or lavage for ingestions greater than 1 ml" "Caustic solution. Irrigate eyes with 1L saline and repeat until pain free." etc. Finially, it serves little purpose to tell people to provide CPR , etc. If they have the training they will know that already. ]
Section 5. Fire fighting measures
Provides basic fire fighting guidance, including appropriate extinguishing media. Describes other fire and explosive properties useful for avoiding and fighting fires involving the material, such as flash point or explosive limits.
[Comment: Telling firefighters to wear SCBA or use measures appropriate for the surrounding fire is ridiculous; if they have the training and equipment required to fight fires they will do this anyway. Explosion hazards and other unusual characteristics are all that is needed. This section is completely irrelevant for materials that won't contribute to a fire, like pharmaceuticals in small volumes and noncombustibles.
Section 6. Accidental release measures
Describes actions to be taken to minimize the adverse effects of an accidental spell, leak or release of the material.
Section 7. Handling and storage
Provides information on appropriate practices for safe handling and storage.
Section 8. Exposure controls/personal protection
Provides information on practices, or equipment, or both, that are useful in minimizing worker exposure. May also include exposure guidelines. Provides guidance on personal protective equipment.
[Comment: Good example: "When spraying this paint outside in open areas wear a dust mask. Indoors in well ventilated areas wear a respirator with organic vapor cartridge. In poorly ventilated areas you must wear a supplied air respirator."
Useless example: "Wear a NIOSH/MSHA approved respirator if TLV is exceeded." This just indicates the author was lazy. Determining workplace air concentrations is hardly routine, and anyone who can actually measure and compare it to the TLV will already know this.]
Section 9. Physical and chemical properties
Provides additional data that can be used to help characterize the material and design safe work practices.
Section 10. Stability and reactivity
Describes the conditions to be avoided or other materials that may cause a reaction that would change the intrinsic stability of the material.
[Comment: The commonly included line "Hazardous Polymerization: Not Applicable" or "will not occur" or "may occur" is not required and completely useless. Only include it if you enjoy wasting people's time. If hazardous polymerizaton may occur, you must give the specific situations in which it is likely.]
Section 11. Toxicological information
May be used to provide background toxicological information on the material, its compounds, or both.
Section 12. Ecological information
May be used to provide information on the effects the material may have on plants or animals and on the material's environmental fate.
Section 13. Disposal considerations
May provide information that is useful in determining appropriate disposal measures.
[Comment: Good example: "Waste latex wall paint may be allowed to dry and disposed of as a non-hazardous solid waste." Better example: "Waste oil should be returned to a permitted recycler, see List of Recylers" Utterly useless example: "Dispose of in a manner consistent with federal, state, and local regulations " This just means the manufacturer is to lazy to even check on whether the material is likely to be a hazardous waste. If you have nothing useful to say, say nothing.
Section 14. Transport information
May provide basic shipping classification information. [Comment: If any specific transportation label is required state it here. For bulk chemicals include the UN number. Otherwise just say "May be shipped normally as a nonhazardous matererial"
Section 15. Regulatory information
May be used to proved any additional information on regulations affecting the material.
Section 16. Other information
May be used to provide any additional information. [Comment: If you must include useless denials of responsibility, keep them confined to this section]