Material Safety Data Sheets
Laws in the United States and Canada require all manufacturers to provide Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for all consumer products. The information contained in an MSDS is very helpful in ascertaining whether or not a product meets some project criteria. MSDS contain disclosures relating to:
Product and manufacturer information
Hazards identification all hazards related to the use of the product on a number rating scale
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Composition/information on ingredients a disclosure of contents that represent more than 1% of the volume of the product. Manufacturers can declare ingredients to be “proprietary” in which case the exact ingredients are not disclosed
This resource can be very helpful in determining whether or not products contain ingredients of concern or pose health and safety concerns in use, storage, and/or transportation.
MSDS are not rated. The reader must put the information contained into context.
MSDS are always free. Retail outlets are obliged to stock MSDS for all products they sell, and many manufacturer websites offer MSDS electronically.
The majority of product certifications have a narrow focus, certifying just one aspect of a product’s environmental performance. Very few certifications consider the full range of environmental and health implications over the life cycle of the product.