What is an MSDS/SDS?

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and Safety Data Sheets (the incoming standard) provide detailed health and safety related information for specific chemicals and compounds. In order to comply with state regulations governing employee "chemical right-to-know", all purchasers and users of chemicals MUST have copies of the applicable MSDS/SDS on file. They must also be on file in the workplace (i.e., the location where the chemical is being used, stored etc.).

Copies of the Arkansas regulations governing employee "chemical right-to-know" and SDS/MSDSs may be obtained from the Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) by calling 575-5448 or by stopping by the Office of Environmental Health and Safety, located in the Facilities Management Complex.

How do I get an MSDS/SDS?

  • Ask your Supervisor.
    Your supervisor should have an MSDS/SDS for any chemical that you are required to work with. These should be kept in a binder that is available to employees at the work site for immediate access. If this is a new substance, or if a replacement MSDS/SDS is needed, try one of the following options.

  • The Internet.
    The internet is probably the quickest and easiest way to find an MSDS/SDS for a common chemical or compound. Using your favorite search engine to search on "manufacturer + chemical name + MSDS (or SDS)" or "chemical name + MSDS (or SDS)" or "CAS number + MSDS (or SDS)" will turn up the correct result 99% of the time. If the search proves unsuccessful, a number of internet options remain. Searching on "MSDS" will reveal that there are numerous MSDS providers on the internet. Some providers charge for their service and others provide it free. EH&S has found the free University of Vermont MSDS site to be useful and up to date for chemicals that are in common use on university campuses.
  • Environmental Health & Safety Library.
    EH&S maintains an extensive library of MSDS/SDSs. All students, faculty and staff are invited to search these volumes for any required MSDS/SDS. Copies can be made free of charge. Please see the disclaimer below.
  • Ask the Distributor.
    Each distributor of chemicals and compounds (e.g. local vendors, suppliers, Scientific suppliers, Central Supply, etc.) should be able to provide an MSDS (or SDS) for stock material or material ordered. The best time to request an MSDS/SDS from a distributor is when the material is ordered. This way the MSDS/SDS can be shipped and delivered with the order.
  • Ask the Manufacturer.
    It is the responsibility of the chemical manufacturers to ensure that distributors and purchasers are provided with the appropriate MSDS/SDS with their initial shipment, and with the first shipment after an MSDS/SDS is updated. When a specific request is made, many manufacturers will willingly send an MSDS/SDS directly to the chemical user, regardless of how many shipments have been made. If you are ordering material directly from the manufacturer, the best time to request the MSDS/SDS is when the material is ordered.
  • Write your own MSDS (for unique research produced compounds or mixtures).
    The user of a chemical or compound DOES NOT have to rely upon information contained in an MSDS obtained from any of the above sources. Users can develop their own MSDS from scratch. In fact, any generator of "noncommercial" hazardous chemicals or compounds (but NOT hazardous waste) generated as a product of campus research or process, should develop a unique MSDS for those products. Guidelines for writing MSDS can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations (29CFR 1910.1200(g)). Please call EH&S for further information on locally developing MSDSs.

Disclaimer: Environmental Health and Safety cannot confirm the accuracy or applicability of any MSDS/SDS within the EH&S library, or MSDS/SDSs obtained from any other source.  MSDS/SDSs are manufacturer specific.  An MSDS/SDS developed by one manufacturer may or may not be an appropriate substitute for the same chemical produced by a different manufacturer.  Due to the huge number of different chemicals used at the university, it is possible that some of the MSDS/SDSs in the library may not be the current revision.