Stupid MSDS

Hi Everyone,

Has I and others have noted in the past the MSDS for many products in
the US show the effect of not following Robert Heinlein’s ideas. And
need to be taken both with a grain of salt as well as some knowledge
of what you are reading (IE Chemistry and Health and safety)

I came across this MSDS for Sterile water on another BLOG (
Doctor Grumpy in the House: DANGER! DANGER, WILL ROBINSON! to give credit where credit
is due)

and thought someone could explain to me why…

So, as per the last paragraphs, let’s keep these important points in

  1. If you accidentally get water in your eyes, IMMEDIATELY flush
    them with more water for 15 minutes.

  2. If you accidentally drink water, induce vomiting.

  3. If you get water on your skin, wash it off with soap and water.

  4. If the water catches fire, extinguish it immediately with
    something “appropriate.”

  5. And always call poison control if you drink water! It says so!


and the same type of technical data has been circulated in hazardous
materials response team and fire fighting circles for years. it is a
joke fake MSDS. Look at the source of MSDS, the manufacturer of the
substance has to issue them. What is the manufacturer for your MSDSe
However, you are correct that TANSTAAFL! And yes, you do have to have
some knowledge to read a MSDS, unless you know what a permissible
exposure limit, of a LD50, etc really mean. I have a copy of a patent
for a heat injector device and receiver (my great grandfather handed
this one down) which is just a description of a man and woman. enjoy
that MSDS in the humorous vein in which it was written.


Lawyers. Funny how it doesn’t say anything about a drowning hazard!

Jeff Herman

The Merck catalogue used to say the same, I’m not sure if it has
been changed but generally they list the risk phrases by code, ie: R6
H1 etc. They dont mention drowning though.

Nick Royall

I used to work at an art college, and when they decided we needed
MSDS on hand, of course, I had to be the one to get the MSDSs. Went
through a ream of paper and a full cartridge of ink printing out all
those darn MSDS. A little payback for the college, I went so far to
print out MSDS for water, air, oxygen, every gas known to man, and
much more. There was probably over a ream of paper for all those
MSDS I had to get. I billed the college for my paper and ink. Oh,
and of course, they go all crazy and tell me to get a fire cabinet
and a new buffing machine. I drew the line at paying for the $1100
buffing machine and told the college, you pay for it. I did the
legwork and the research but I was so tired of having to buy all
those expensive things they wanted. I did get reimbursed in the end.

Water and oxygen will kill you if taken in great quantities. Do you
know some people are allergic to water? I don’t know how they manage
to deal with that. Thanksfully, not a problem for me.


Hi Gang,

I saw one once for sodium cyanide eggs that listed the warning
symptoms as “death”.

It may have been a joke, because I looked it up again online years
later, from the. gov site, and the one I found wasn’t the same.

Gave one pause, it did. (The original one) Clearly, whoever wrote the
original one was having fun.



In the old days when we used to “bomb” our jewelry we used cyanide
eggs and hydrogen pyroxide.

I had my own “MSDS” on my back door where we went outside to mix
them. It read in large letters.

After you mix cyanide and anything don’t be there!
I can’t believe we used to do that!
Here is to new and safer methods!


In the old days when we used to "bomb" our jewelry we used cyanide
eggs and hydrogen pyroxide.

Sam- Holy cow! I can’t believe there is anyone around still that
knows how to do that.

We used to do that back in the stone age too. It made an amazing

Bombing really was pretty dangerous. So we’d hold our breath and do
it under the hood while we heated it like a latte with the steamer
nozzle til it exploded. Then we’d take a break and step out side. The
guys would then light up cigarrettes.

Tim won’t let me do that anymore. Sigh.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry,
But don’t try this at home kids
Jo Haemer

Bombing really was pretty dangerous. So we'd hold our breath and
do it under the hood while we heated it like a latte with the
steamer nozzle til it exploded. 

Jo, clearly it was dangerous because obviously, you were doing it
wrong. from your description, you’d still have it under the steamer
when it popped? That means you had cyanide all over, and maybe in,
the steam nozzle. That means you’d be spraying cyanide, or cyanate,
next time you used the steamer. Anyone could tell that wouldn’t be
good. But done right, who thought of anything else that could go
wrong. Not us. No, you heated the water with jewelry in it first, to
boiling, with the steamer. Then in goes a teaspoon or so or
potassium cyanide granules (seemed stronger, and the granulated form
was easier to handle than those eggs). When it dissolved, swirl it
around a little, add a “glug” of the 40 percent peroxide, and point
the properly tilted container to the back wall of the sink which
properly contained all the splash. Yeah, yeah, I know we weren’t
supposed to be letting such stuff go down the drain. but the whole
building was jewelers. Who’d know it was us? It was Detroit, and thus
the already dead Detroit river. Perfectly safe. Well, maybe a little
bit of a headache.

Sometimes quite a bit of one. But we were young.

And maybe really, really, really stupid.

And the finish was unique. Nothing else can touch it on stuff like
hollow rope chains or similar things where even now, magnetic
tumblers can’t quite match that look…

Amazing to realize I actually survived that stuff to tell the tale.

And besides, it had to be Ok, or Murrey Bovin’s book on jewelry
making wouldn’t have pretty much given the instructions, though his
method used a pyrex coffee pot, with a lid, and clear instructions
not to drop the pot when it exploded.

(For those unused to bombing, it’s not really an explosion. Ranges
from a sudden fast rise in bubbles that almost overflow the container
and then subside, to a pretty clear “burst”. Almost a soft explosion,
and it propels at least some of the foamy liquid out of the container
unless covered, and big enough to contain the new volume. This is not
at the level of reactivity of, say, mentos candy dropped into a diet
pepsi bottle, though there can be a certain resemblance at a much
milder level…)

However you do or did this, the only really safe way to do bombing
is within an enclosed fume hood, usually a glove box affair, with
proper built in plumbing to dispose of the waste, destroy the
remaining cyanide, and prevent fumes from escaping. Not cheap
equipment. Even just outside doesn’t do it, as you still have waste
disposal issues, and toxic fume issues, to address, even if they are
usually at very low levels.

memories. Proof that I didn’t kill quite all the brain cells with
that stuff…


Bombing was the reason I left a small silver company and started my
own business. Ventilation? Who the hell needs ventilation?

Jeff Herman

Bombing really was pretty dangerous. So we'd hold our breath and
do it under the hood while we heated it like a latte with the
steamer nozzle til it exploded. 

At least you had a hood. I worked at a place that did it without a
hood. I never saw, they kept me at a distance.