There are two answers to where the toxicological information comes from. Since anyone can prepare an MSDS, there are those who seek the most up-to-date and authoritative sources for toxicology information, and those who don’t.
That’s the primary problem with the MSDS system – there are no requirements for specific technical knowledge by the preparer, and no requirements to consult specific sources of information. Two MSDSs for the same commercial product can (and may be) significantly different – I’ve seen numerous cases where one MSDS says a material is hazardous, and another that says it isn’t. This is a particular problem if you are trying to decide how to ship a chemical that may or may not be DOT regulated. An MSDS may not be based on good knowledge, and in fact, the distributor or manufacturer may see a monetary advantage in being able to ship a material as non-regulated. I have seen this numerous times.
Literally, the only real requirement for an MSDS is it must be in English. Even the recommended format is non-mandatory.
I agree with Alan Hall – seek out reputable sources for information when reviewing or preparing an MSDS! (Or consult with Jay Young).
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Can anyone tell me where the toxicological information on an MSDS comes from?
Laboratory Development Assistant
Academic Chemical Compliance Director
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