I hereby admit that it was ages ago since I even looked at a MSDS, and I presume I am not the only one. Why? It is certainly not because I do not care about the safety of myself or others, because I really do, but because these so called documents are – in the best of worlds – worthless.
I suppose you already know what I am talking about? If not, be my guest: The safety instructions for sodium chloride
We can chuckle at things like “taste: saline”, “if ingested, seek medical advice immediately” or “protective equipment: gloves, lab coat, dust respirator”, but seriously – it is not funny.
These documents are so bloated that we have become blind to whatever they contain. In the case of table salt, this is perhaps not a big deal, but what about the reagents that are dangerous for real? (cf. The Boy Who Cried Wolf)
Active synthesis chemists handle new chemical entities on a daily basis. It would have been nice if we had had access to a reliable source of information regarding the actual precautions needed for each of these rather than a generic “treat everything like you would handle refined Ebola virus.”
Is there a way out of this mess?