Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) contain data about the properties of a product. While MSDS contain information helpful for consumers, their primary audience is not consumers, but employees who work with hazardous materials. Employers are required to have a MSDS in the workplace for each hazardous material employees work with. If Company A sells a product to Company B, and the employees of Company B will be working with the product, then Company A is required to provide a MSDS for the product to Company B.
There is no requirement for a retail outlet to provide a MSDS for products they sell to consumers.
General information about MSDS can be found on Wikipedia.
Consumers who want a MSDS for a product have several options, listed below in the order they should be tried:
- Search the Internet for the product MSDS using Google or a similar search engine. This is the best and most efficient way to find a product MSDS. For instance, a search on: behr paint msds pulls up a link to the Behr site, on which the MSDS can be found.
- Search the
Household Products Database from the NLM
which contains MSDS for many common household products. Look for the link labeled "Complete MSDS for this proiduct" a
- Search the Internet for a site providing a compiled list of MSDS. (here's an example) Bookmarking such a site can be helpful if you have frequent need for MSDS. Sites offering compiled lists of free MSDS can be found by searching on: finding free msds in Google or other search engines. Beware, not all the results of this search will provide free MSDS. Some sites offer free searching for MSDS, but then charge for the actual document.
- Contact the company that produces the product and request an MSDS. Some companies such as Scotts (Miracle Grow, Ortho, etc.) do not post the MSDS online, but provide a phone number or email to request the MSDS.
- Ask at the retail outlet where the product was purchased. Although retailers are not required to provide MSDS to consumers, they sometimes have copies. Retailers who work with employers are most likely to have the MSDS. For instance a paint retailer who sells to a contractor with several paint crews may have an MSDS for the paint products it sells.
- Use a commercial MSDS provider. There are many online companies who will provide MSDS for a fee.