You know those MSDS binders scattered through American offices (by law) with big bold signs with icons for FIRE! and POISON! and words like "YOU have a right to KNOW!"?

They're fascinating. For instance, in my grad school office (which is the most materially boring place you can think of -- it's desks and chairs, essentially), we have DANGERS! such as:

Hand sanitizer (Ethyl alcohol): Respiratory protection required for fire department personnel. Releases of flammable vapor, which are heavier than air and travel a considerable distance may burn and explode.

I had a mental image of a tidal wave of alcoholic hand sanitizer rolling, flaming, down a burning hallway while screaming people fled before its toxic gases -- which, by the way, cause "effects similar to those of ingestion of ethanol (beverage alcohol) such as... nausea and vomiting" and "may result in irritation of mucous membranes... and/or symptoms of CNS depression such as drowsiness and lack of concentration." Also, "Long term exposure may also produce liver damage."

Then the compressed gas duster, which contains ethane 1,1-difluoro (whatever that is) and warns people to "not flame cut, braze, or use [a] welding torch" on it, and made me wonder in what universe people regularly welded around containers of compressed air. The MSDS for this did note that ingestion was "not an anticipated route of entry" (in other words, "people don't eat canned air") so we only needed to be wary of eye contact ("irritation, redness"), skin contact ("frostbite, defatting, dermatitis"), inhalation ("asphyxiation, possible cardiac arrhythmias at high concentrations").

Or how to clean up spilled black toner, which is to "vacuum-clean spilled toner and carefully transfer into sealable waste container... residue can be removed with soap and cold water." It's an instruction set particular to black toner, just as the sheet on dry-erase markers noted the safety data therein was true for all colors except for pink. Now I want to know what's in the pink markers.

On the other hand, it's nice to know our automatic dishwashing detergent is "not considered harmful to aquatic organisms or to cause long-term adverse effects in the environment at relevant environmental concentrations," even if "ingestion may cause gastrointestinal irritation, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea."

Note to self: randomly reading things you notice during snack breaks can lead to amusement.