e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry
e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry

MSDS and the Internet

What is an MSDS?

A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)  provides both workers and emergency personnel with the proper procedures for handling or working with a particular substance.  Each MSDS will include information such as physical data, e.g. M.P., B.P., flash point, etc., and toxicity, health effects, first aid, reactivity, storage, disposal, protective equipment, and clean-up procedures for spills and leaks . These should be read in advance of using a compound for the first time and should be referred to in the event of an accident/ spill.  At SUNY-ESF  many of the laboratory courses require proof that the students have consulted the relevant MSD Sheets in advance of the laboratory exercise.  This is good training for your future career as well. For an example of  typical MSDS information check the two following examples. Although  MSDS formats tend to vary, they convey the same basic types of information. A glossary of MSDS terms is available from the University of Toronto.

Some MSDS database sources:

There are several places you can get them...
  1. MSDS  come with chemicals that you have ordered. (don't throw them away!)
  2. A collection of Syracuse University Chemistry Department MSDS can be found online at  http://www.syr.edu/msds/. A&TS also keeps a file in their office as well.
  3. Call or FAX the manufacturer's or vendor's customer service department.
  4. MSDS are on the Internet . Here's a table of some popular sites:
Internet Site Available Resources
1. Cornell University ~325,000 online searchable MSDS
2. The Vermont SIRI MSDS Archive 
3. Fisher Scientific MSDS + price information. The keyword search checks both the Fisher and Acros catalogs. Find the chemical you want, then click on the "MSDS" icon for that chemical to see the complete MSDS
4. Sigma-Aldrich  Sigma Aldrich Product information- MSDS pages are available here for all of their products.  If it requests an ID and password, you may use wtwinter and guaran, respectively.
Stanford University Search Engine for Stanford's MSDS database.
5. University of Utah  Modest (1,500+) MSDS (subdivided into sections A-Z)
6. Enviro-net MSDS www mirror of Utah (#6) searchable + A-Z browsing
7. Oxford University A JAVA based search engine for the Akron and  Utah databases, not a good choice for use over a modem connection.
8. University of Georgia Links to MSDS databases and other "Right-to-know" information.
9. University of Akron Keyword search for MSDS
10. Cambridge Soft web site A nice substructure-searchable small-molecule database of ~50,000 compounds with 2D and 3D structures + extensive links for each hit.
11. The National Toxicology Program Searchable database provides abstracts of carcinogenicity, teratology etc. studies on a couple thousand chemicals.  Entire 460K data base can be downloaded
12. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry 70+ sheets w/ health effects of chemicals. Cool molecular models!
13. EPA's Envirochem Master Chemical Integrator  EPA chemical fact sheets
14. University of Kentucky Dept. of Chemistry This site is kept current by Bob Toreki.  Currently (7/98) about 60 links.  It is a good place to check if links on our local SUNY-ESF page go bad.
15. Sigma/Aldrich Entry to Sigma, Aldrich, Fluka, Supelco, and  Riedel-de Haën web sites. No MSDS but Sigma product info sheets for some chemicals. Searchable catalogs.
16. New Jersey Hazardous Chemical Fact Sheets Plain English descriptions of common household, workplace and environmental chemicals (great for non-chemists) , somewhat tedious since you have to load the 125K (7/98) index, search it and select your link. 
17. J.T. Baker Company Search for the product and request the MSDS sheet
For a more complete list of MSDS sites  go to link 14

Other Useful Items

           This is your guide to local (SUNY-ESF) procedures and practices This page was last updated April 27,2000 and is intended primarily for the benefit of our students etc. in the greater Syracuse area (SUNY-ESF, HSC-Syracuse and Syracuse University).