If you deal with stone or quartz surfaces you must be familiar with an M.S.D.S. That is the document which is included in many of the chemicals you use, and which contains important safety information. Although, you don't have to be a chemist to understand what it's all about, at first glance it may seem that way. The following is a brief description of how to read and understand an M.S.D.S.
What is an M.S.D.S.?
M.S.D.S is the abbreviation for Material Safety Data Sheet. It is a form which must be supplied with every chemical sold that may be considered hazardous, although there is no single correct form. Many companies will, in fact, produce their own form. Regardless of style, they all must contain the same basic information.
How to Read an M.S.D.S.
It is divided into nine sections as follows:
Section I. Identification
1. The name of the chemical: usually the product trade name.
2. The name and address of the manufacturer or distributor.
3. An emergency telephone number.
4. Trade names and synonyms.
5. The date that the M.S.D.S. was written, or the date that any changes were made.
Section II. Hazardous Ingredients
1. The chemical names, formulas and common names of hazardous ingredients.
2. OSHA permissible exposure limits: This is the maximum amount of the chemical that a person may be exposed to without harm.
3. The threshold limit value(TLV): The amount of the chemical that a person can be exposed to for five consecutive eight hour workdays without harm.
4. The chemical abstracts service (CAS) identification number.
5. Other recommended limits.
Note: Sometimes you will find a chemical in this section that is labeled a trade secret. The M.S.D.S. will still list its hazards and safety information without identifying the chemical.
Section III. Physical & Chemical Information.
1. Boiling Point: The temperature at which a liquid will boil. This will help you prevent a potentially dangerous change in state. A liquid changing to a gas is what happens when it reaches its boiling point. The liquid may be safe but as a gas may be deadly.
2. Vapor Pressure: Measures the liquid's tendency to evaporate. The higher the VP, the faster the liquid will evaporate.
3. Vapor Density: This tells whether the liquid is heavier or lighter than air. If heavier than air, it will settle on the ground. If lighter than air it will rise.
4. Solubility in water: Is the liquid soluble in water? If not, do not mix with water. A good example of a liquid that is not soluble in water is mineral spirits.