196506 Material safety data sheets for products used in auto repair and body shops: 1980-2009

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Myra Karstadt, PhD , Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, School of Public Health, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA
A survey of contents and quality of material safety data sheets (MSDSs) for products used in auto repair and body shops was initiated in 1980 in cooperation with UAW shops in the New York City tri-state metropolitan area. The author has continued to review MSDSs for products in the study group; an update commenced in January 2009. Over the years, MSDSs have been found to be lacking in composition data, out-of-date, inaccurate (toxicity data, especially chronic toxicity data), inconsistent from sheet to sheet for identical chemicals, and generally poor in quality. LIttle improvement in quality has been seen over the years of the study. The problems noted for sheets in this product group can be extrapolated to other product groups as well. Problems with MSDSs can be attributed to shortcomings of HazCom, the OSHA Hazard Communication standard promulgated in final form in 1983. HazCom placed MSDSs at the center of workplace chemical education and training activities. Action is needed to improve the data workers receive on the chemical products to which they are exposed in the workplace.

Learning Objectives:
Enable occupational safety and health professionals and shop-floor safety stewards and workers to better analyze, compare and evaluate material safety data sheets (MSDSs). The presentation will enable policy-makers at OSHA and in the states to assess the effects of standards such as the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (HazCom) on MSDSs and worker safety training methodologies.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: papers published in the biomedical literature, research, teaching, prior programs
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.