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|The MSDS FAQ: Miscellaneous|
We do have pages devoted to traditional desktop software as well as web-based MSDS compliance soluitions you can access through your mobile browser. See our MSDS Software and MSDS Suppliers/Translators pages for more information.
For example, many think that oxygen poses no unusual risks because we breathe it all the time (it is 21% of the Earth's atmosphere). But at 100% concentration, it is an extreme fire hazard and can even ignite some organic materials spontaneously!
Common table sugar wouldn't seem dangerous. But a 2008 sugar dust explosion at a Georgia sugar refinery killed eleven workers and injured 44 others, 20 of whom required treatment at burn centers. So maybe an MSDS with a warning about dust explosions isn't so silly after all.
For a real-life assessment of 88 commonly used chemicals, take a look at Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Disposal of Chemicals. Also check out "How should we handle MSDS requests for materials that do not require an MSDS?" elsewhere in this FAQ.
Even if some of the information in MSDS's is in there to satisfy lawyers, it is in your best interest to assume a worst case scenario. A good analogy is professionals who work with blood products. These workers must assume "universal precautions", assuming that every blood sample they work with could transmit HIV or hepatitis even though few actually do. The payoff is in a greatly reduced risk of accident due to complacency.
Respect the chemicals you are working with and know their hazards (and how you would respond to a spill, leak or other accident) before using them!
For a humorous look at chemophobia (fear of chemicals) and MSDS's take a look at the very cleverly done web site DHMO.org (yes, the whole site is a joke...DHMO is water).
If you're still stuck after looking through that, you can send your question via email to our MSDS email address and we'll see if we can help. Please do not bother us with "Where can I find a sheet for ___" type questions - that's what our Where to Find MSDS's page is for and we do not have the resources to provide searches for our thousands of daily visitors.
Finally, please let us know if you think we need to add additional questions to this FAQ or if any of our answers are unclear. You're also welcome to send us praise, thanks, and tax-free (but not tax-deductible for you, alas) gifts.
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