What Is the Purpose of an MSDS?

by George N. Root III ; Updated September 26, 2017

A material safety data sheet, or MSDS, is required by federal law to accompany all potentially hazardous materials. It is not intended for the general public; it is for the companies that use the chemicals.


According to the State Compensation Insurance Fund, an MSDS sheet is created to give users of a potentially hazardous substance the chemical makeup of the substance and the possible health risks of handling it.


Schiff-Consulting.com points out that United States federal law mandates that any company that manufactures a substance that is deemed potentially hazardous based on federal guidelines must issue an MSDS sheet to each company that purchases the substance.

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Medical Treatment

An MSDS sheet must provide first-response, first-aid information and long-term medical treatment information on the substance it is related to.

Contact Information

Each MSDS sheet must contain the full mailing and shipping address of the manufacturer along with a contact phone number.

Fire Information

An MSDS sheet must include information necessary to know how to treat a substance should it catch on fire or explode.

About the Author

George N. Root III began writing professionally in 1985. His publishing credits include a weekly column in the "Lockport Union Sun and Journal" along with the "Spectrum," the "Niagara Falls Gazette," "Tonawanda News," "Watertown Daily News" and the "Buffalo News." Root has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the State University of New York, Buffalo.

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