MSDS Introduction

MSDS stands for Material Safety Data Sheet. All chemicals that you work with at school have an MSDS on file. The MSDS provides information about a chemical's toxicity, health hazards, physical properties, fire, and reactivity data—including storage, spill, and handling precautions. Please note, that some chemicals may display the revised Safety Data Sheets (SDS). Many of sections of the SDS are comparable to those on the MSDS.  For example, first aid information will still be found in Section 4 of the SDS.

View a section of an MSDS below.

Sample MSDS

Now answer the questions below.

MSDS Scramble

Below are statements from an MSDS for Bromothymol Blue.

Read each statement carefully, then drag the appropriate section title to the box next to the statement.

Reading Hazard Diamonds

Another way to assess a chemical's safety properties without reading the MSDS is to look at the "hazard diamond" that is usually located on the label of the chemical.

Below is an example of a hazard diamond. Each of the colored boxes normally has a number from 0 to 4 in it that corresponds to the severity of that hazard (0 is no hazard; 4 is severe hazard).

Image of Hazard Diamond
Fire Hazard—RED
0 = Will not burn
1 = Must be preheated to burn
2 = Ignites when moderately heated
3 = Ignites at normal temperatures
4 = Extremely Flammable

Health Hazard—BLUE
0 = Like ordinary material
1 = Slightly hazardous
2 = Hazardous—Use breathing apparatus
3 = Extremely dangerous—use full protective clothing
4 = Too dangerous to enter vapor or liquid
0 = Normally stable
1 = Unstable if heated—use normal precautions
2 = Violent chemical change possible—use hose streams from a distance
3 = Strong shock or heat may detonate—use monitors from behind
explosive barriers
4 = May detonate—vacate areas if materials are exposed to fire

Specific Hazards—WHITE

Depending on the specific hazard posed by the chemical, you may see symbols like the ones shown below within the WHITE area of the hazard diamond:

biohazard symbol
flammable symbol

poison symbol

do not add water symbol
Biohazard Flammable Poison Do Not Add Water

corrosive symbol

strong oxidizer symbol

radioactive symbol
Corrosive Strong Oxidizer Radioactive  


Hazard Diamond Activities

Use the following hazard diamond to answer the following questions. 

hazard diamond

After reading this MSDS information, build a hazard diamond by dragging and dropping the correct numbers and symbols into the right place in the blank diamond.