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I am wondering whether companies are required to disclose MSDS data on their products: toxicity, $\mathrm{LD_{50}}$, etc. Not only that, but I am wondering whether they are required to disclose the methodology that they used. I know that this isn't a legal forum, but some companies that I asked are unwilling to give details on how the toxicity was tested. What are some laws that are in place (regardless of country)? I thought that all MSDS data should be public.

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    $\begingroup$ Companies are required to have SDS (don't know why they changed from MSDS to SDS recently, but...) sheets for chemical products they sell. What you see conforms to US federal regulations. It is highly unusual for a company to do their own toxicology (if it is even done). That is done to standards established and controlled by national or international industrial hygiene associations. I have seen (and used) many specialty chemicals where such testing had not been done, so no data was listed since there was none. There is no requirement to perform it for a new chemical. $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    Oct 6 '16 at 16:16
  • $\begingroup$ @JonCuster The thing is that some companies have nearly 30 entries missing. I am looking at some cleaning products...They have No data available on environmental hazard part. Data missing on inhalation. There is no acute exposure limit. Irritation data is missing. Is this even legal..? It says it got approved by the nation's msds lab.. $\endgroup$ Oct 6 '16 at 16:45
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, it is legal. Perhaps not ideal, but legal. If you still have concerns, discuss with your nearest IH person (industrial hygiene). $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    Oct 6 '16 at 16:50
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There is a bit of a misconception here.

Of course, the material safety data sheet (MSDS) is publicly available. Just go to your favourite chemicals supplier, type in your substance and download the corresponding MSDS in your language for your jurisdiction. At least in Europe that is mandatory for all chemicals a company sells; I would be very surprised if there is any developped country where making MSDS publicly available be not mandatory.

On the other hand there is the question of how a value was determined. That is not necessarily public information. Of course, there is a set of standardised tests that companies would perform, but they don’t have to exactly mention whether they used method A or method G. They also have a reason to be nondisclosive about this: imagine an animal rights activist calling you pretending to just be an interested scientist and then using the information they get on the phone to start a name-ruining anti-ChemicalCompany campaign. You don’t want that, do you? And then, of course, there is the general secrecy issue. If you just invented a compound you want to put on the market as a drug, you don’t want anybody knowing anything about it until you’ve started selling it.

Of course, government bodies have a certain reason to know how the tests were perfomed and what the raw results were (otherwise the company could just print a number on their MSDS which the responsible person invented on the toilet). But you’re not government. You’ll have to somewhat trust the government to properly monitor the companies in question.

Of course, the chemist who works safely doesn’t need to know how dangerous something is. They will work with it in a way that they are not affected.

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