The use of electronic Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) is beginning to take root, as a new study shows a 77 percent increase over the past two years in the number of MSDS software systems that employ Web technologies.

Additionally, most of the systems (66 percent) will now run on the Internet, while nearly half (44 percent) of the developers offer MSDS software as a Web-based service or ASP (Application Service Provider), according to the study by Donley Technology of Colonial Beach, Va.

As more chemical suppliers offer electronic alternatives to paper MSDSs, interest in online retrieval is growing quickly. This is evidenced by the fact that 60 percent of MSDS software developers now offer a Web-based alternative. Donley, which analyzes and reports on the EH&S software industry and market, expects the growth in electronic distribution of MSDSs to continue, particularly in light of public fears over the safety of U.S. mail.

The trend toward electronic MSDSs is also changing the way companies gather and store chemical safety information. For example, 79 percent of the MSDS software products now support scanning of paper MSDSs to enter the data into the system. And 64 percent can now retrieve MSDSs via the Internet in a variety of formats.

The results of the Donley Technology study are available in the fifth edition of the MSDS Software Report. For more information, or to order the report, call (804) 224-9427 or (800) 201-1595, or visit