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Safety Data Sheets (SDS) are documents provided by hazardous material manufacturers to communicate information on materials sold to customers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard (29 1910.1200(g)), revised in 2012, requires all manufacturers, distributors and importers to provide SDS documents for all hazardous chemicals sold to users. Safety Data Sheets are an excellent reference for hazard identification when working with hazardous materials in a laboratory. These documents provide globally harmonized system (GHS) classifications of hazardous, physical property information, as well as suggestions for handling, storage, exposure control and disposal.

Safety Data sheets are standardized into 16 sections, each providing information to the user. Sections one through eight contain general information about the chemical and are helpful to users needing quick information. Sections nine through 11 and sometimes 16 contain other technical information.

Section 1
Identification of the material including manufacturer information
Section 2
Hazard(s) Identification. This section provides the GHS’s hazard classification, including pictograms, hazard and precautionary statements.
Section 3
Composition Information. This section identifies all the material’s ingredients and their concentrations.
Section 4
First Aid Measures. This is information for initial care when an individual has been exposed to the chemical. The information provided in this section should be provided to first responders.
Section 5
Fire Fighting Measures. This section provides recommendations for fighting a fire caused by the chemical.
Section 6
Accidental Release Measures. This section provides recommendation on the appropriate response to spills leaks or releases, including containment and clean up to help mitigate exposure to people or the environment.
Section 7
Handling and Storage.
Section 8
Exposure Controls. This section provides information on exposure limits including PELs, TLVs and other limits recommended by the manufacturers, where available. This section also identifies the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements for using the materials and makes recommendations for the correct engineering controls.
Section 9
Physical and Chemical Properties.
Section 10
Stability and Reactivity. This section identifies the reactivity hazards of the chemical and the stability information. This section is a good resource to better understand the compatibility of the material to other types of chemicals.
Section 11
Toxicological Information. This section provides data, if available, on the toxicological and health effects of the material.
Section 12
Ecological Information, including information to evaluate the environmental impact if the chemical was released.
Section 13
Disposal Consideration. This section provides guidance on proper disposal practices.
Section 14
Transportation Information, including guidance on proper shipping and transportation of the hazardous chemical.
Section 15
Regulatory Information.
Section 16
Other Information.

While OSHA requires all manufacturers to provide an SDS in the correct format to users, the detailed information provided is not standardized and may vary some by manufacturer. If you have any questions, please consult your EHS team. All laboratory workers should have access to an SDS for chemicals purchased for laboratory use. While you can contact the manufacturer for an SDS, below is a list of resources to obtain an SDS for most commercially available chemicals.

SDS Resources

Associated Departments: