Material Safety Data Sheets Made Simple

DN Staff

July 17, 2006

2 Min Read
Material Safety Data Sheets Made Simple

Ever find yourself in need of a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) when evaluating a material, an adhesive or even a manufacturing consumable? You know that data sheet is somewhere out there on the web, but you just don't know where.

Maybe you don't know the substance's trade name, proper chemical name or the manufacturer. And even if you do know the manufacturer, it might be difficult to find it on that company's website - chemical and material supplier websites aren't known for their ease of navigation. Then, once you find the sheet, you may have to actually interpret all the chemistry acronyms and jargon.

A website run by Interactive Learning Paradigms Inc. can help with both the finding and the reading. The company's website will tell you everything you want to know about Material Safety Data Sheets - and probably some stuff you didn't know you wanted to know.

The centerpiece of the free information is the "Where to Find Material Safety Data Sheets on the Internet" page (http://rbi.ims.ca/4928-535). It lists about 100 sources of frequently updated MSDS information on the web - including manufacturer, commercial, academic and government sources. Some of the sources focus on narrow areas that would appeal to Design News' readers. For example, there's a link to Lincoln Electric's welding products. There's another on chemicals used to fabricate microelectronics.

Take a few minutes to read through the list, and you won't be wondering where to find your next data sheet.

Explore the other areas of the site, and you'll come away with a better understanding of the info listed on an MSDS. The site's FAQ (http://rbi.ims.ca/4928-536) goes over data sheet basics and advanced topics - including the different formats, the types of materials that do and do not require a sheet, compliance information and more. The site's glossary (http://rbi.ims.ca/4928-537) defines terms that you will find on data sheets, including medical terms you probably didn't learn in engineering school.

The site has another cool widget that can help you read the MSDS tea leaves. The site's MS-Demystifier (http://rbi.ims.ca/4928-538) lets you paste an MSDS into a window on the web page. Hit the "demystify" button, the widget parses your MSDS text, and returns a document with appropriate hyperlinks to the glossary.

The site includes other resources including links to MSDS software, regulations, books and even a quiz. And then there's another widget that lets you create data sheets for your toxic coworkers.

Who says Material Safety Data Sheets aren't fun?

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