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April 6, 1999 --

Nashville, TN Ė The availability of a central repository for Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) has long been expressed as desirable by both the providers and users of these documents. The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is initiating a pilot project designed to demonstrate the benefits of implementing a chemical manufacturers Internet-based repository of MSDS files that qualify as being both "from the manufacturer" and "the most current MSDS".

PNNL ( is a US Department of Energy (USDOE) multipurpose facility operated for the DOE by Battelle who has managed this facility for the DOE since 1965. Battelle is also a partner in the management of Brookhaven National Laboratory and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Collectively the referenced facilities manage over one hundred thousand MSDSs. PNNL alone manages 40,000 MSDSs.

This project is being scoped to serve the interests of the USDOE, and PNNL will be seeking participation from other government agencies with an interest in chemical hazard information management. PNNL is also seeking participation and support by private sector organizations, both those that have interests in common as purchasers and users of chemicals, and those who are producers and distributors of chemicals.

The project will create a specific MSDS Pilot Users Group for the duration of the project that is not to exceed eighteen months from start of dialogue through reporting and closeout. A six-month period is planned for the field work and web site testing. The effort is the result of PNNLís discussions with clients, participation as Responsible Care Partner Members in CMA, and their experience supporting safety management within the Department of Energy. The mission of the project is to design, implement, evaluate and test the delivery system. PNNL plans to bring together representatives of chemical manufacturers, chemical users, trade associations and the government in a users group to define the scope and support the pilot. MSDS Search ( will serve as the test bed for collection of this information.

The scientific validity of the study will be dependent upon the quality of the data collected. Participants from both the MSDS provider and user communities are being recruited to participate in the study. The broadest possible representation will be sought to ensure that all points of view are considered. A goal has been established of building a repository database of some 5-10,000 MSDS files from government agency participants and at least twenty-five product manufacturers and/or distributors. Participants from both communities are being asked to help underwrite the cost of the investigation. PNNL estimates a cost of $42 per MSDS submitted (up to 250 MSDSs) to participate in the six month field test, or about 23 cents a day per document.

The pilot study is to provide a forum where your comments become the "cumulative body of knowledge" about making a central repository for MSDS a reality. In this study, MSDS Search will be the site where stakeholders and interested parties can go to stay abreast of developments. A hyperlink will also be available from the PNNL website. Please read the Executive Summary and give us your comments by May 1, 1999.

We are seeking both customer and manufacturer participation. If your company is willing to support this pilot effort, please contact principal investigators at PNNL:

Dennis S. Walters (509) 372-4078   

Kathryn M. Tominey (509) 375-6508   

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