Date: Fri, 10 Sep 2004 10:37:55 -0400 From: "Mary M. Cavanaugh"
Subject: RE: [DCHAS-L] Managing Chemicals with stench characteristics While I don't think that the lack of information on MSDSs is generally intentional, if you look at the body as a whole, MSDSs are not accomplishing what OSHA intended. That is, they aren't telling people enough of what they need to know. There are good MSDSs, even very good ones, out there. But there are as many that give virtually no useful information (lots of canned generic phrases), or the information is so technical as to be useless to the material's actual users. Sometimes even the information is overly cauktions -- perhaps because of fears of liability, or perhaps because the MSDS was written for the industrial setting where the product is manufactured in huge vats, rather than for the 1/2-pint can the end-user buys. I spent almost 2 years entering MSDS information into the military's MSDS database. I remember the fire section for solid potassium salt as "flush with water". I remember seeing the MSDS for a kind of rat poison saying "keep away from children" in the precautions section and "no ingredients recognized as toxic" in the ingredients section. Symptoms of overexposure routinely list "urticaria," "hyperlacrimation" and other medical terms that most end users don't know. A lot of the problem is, in my opinion, the way the MSDS regs are written. There is no requirement to include chemicals that haven't been evaluated for toxicity (which leaves tens of thousands of chemicals off the ingredients list). This probably was done to appease industry when the reg was written, but it's time for this to change. -mmc
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