A very brief history of the Material Data Safety Sheet (MSDS).
Samuel Kaplan's longer history is cited below.
At least one researcher traces the origins of the MSDS to hieroglyphics on the inside of the pyramids which gave users of various chemicals information about how to use them safely, etc. In the 19th century, chemists were recording safety precautions, etc. and making them available to their customers. The Public Health Service and others made chemical safety sheets available in the early 20th century. By the 1940's the Manufacturing Chemists Association (precursor to today's Chemical Manufacturers Association) had a series of sheets available on commodity chemicals. In the 1950's, Dow Chemical published an article in the industrial hygiene journal describing their MSDS program in their company. From a US regulatory standpoint, the first requirements were adopted in the late 1960's in the maritime industry. In 1983, they were required by OSHA in the manufacturing industry--this was later expanded to cover all employers in 1987. MSDSs are also required in Europe, Canada, and Australia, and there are international activities currently underway to have an internationally harmonized approach to these requirements.
Many thanks to Jennifer Silk and Samuel Kaplan for providing the information above.
Last updated on Tuesday, 14-Jul-2009