Safety Data Sheets

A Safety Data Sheet (SDS) (formally MSDS) is designed to provide emergency response personnel and users of hazardous materials with the proper procedures for handling or working with a particular substance. The SDS is produced by the manufacturer of the chemical, and includes information on the health and physical hazards associated with the material and provides detailed information regarding its physical properties, reactivity, and toxicity.  It also details first aid, storage, disposal, exposure control, and spill/leak procedures. These are of particular use if there is a spill or a person has accidental contact with the material.

Typical Information Found on an SDS

The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires chemical manufacturers, distributors, or importers to provide Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) (formerly known as Material Safety Data Sheets or MSDSs) to communicate the hazards of hazardous chemical products. As of June 1, 2015, the HCS will require new SDSs to be in a uniform format, and include the section numbers, the headings, and associated information under the headings below:

Section 1, Identification includes product identifier; manufacturer or distributor name, address, phone number; emergency phone number; recommended use; restrictions on use.

Section 2, Hazard(s) Identification includes all hazards regarding the chemical; required label elements.

Section 3, Composition/Information on Ingredients includes information on chemical ingredients; trade secret claims.

Section 4, First-aid Measures includes important symptoms/ effects, acute, delayed; required treatment.

Section 5, Fire-fighting Measures lists suitable extinguishing techniques, equipment; chemical hazards from fire.

Section 6, Accidental Release Measures lists emergency procedures; protective equipment; proper methods of containment and cleanup.

Section 7, Handling and Storage lists precautions for safe handling and storage, including incompatibilities.

Section 8, Exposure Controls/Personal Protection lists OSHA's Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs); Threshold Limit Values (TLVs); appropriate engineering controls; personal protective equipment (PPE).

Section 9, Physical and Chemical Properties lists the chemical's characteristics.

Section 10, Stability and Reactivity lists chemical stability and possibility of hazardous reactions.

Section 11, Toxicological Information, includes routes of exposure; related symptoms, acute and chronic effects; numerical measures of toxicity.

Section 12, Ecological Information to evaluate the environmental impact of the chemical(s) if it were released to the environment.

Section 13, Disposal Considerations provides guidance on proper disposal practices, recycling or reclamation of the chemical(s) or its container, and safe handling practices.

Section 14, Transport Information provides guidance on classification information for shipping and transporting of hazardous chemical(s) by road, air, rail, or sea.

Section 15, Regulatory Information identifies the safety, health, and environmental regulations specific for the product that is not indicated anywhere else on the SDS.

Section 16, Other Information, includes the date of preparation or last revision.

SDS, Chemical and Biological Safety Resources

There are several sources of Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) and general chemical safety information available via the internet. Some contain an alphabetical listing for SDS retrieval, while others are searchable through entry of chemical information (name, CAS number, etc.). Some particularly useful sites are listed below.

An excellent chemical information source:

  • WISER - from the National Libary of Medicine. In addition to the web version, there are downloadable versions for a computer and apps for the iPad, iPhone or Android. Go to the WISER homepage for the downloads.

For Biological Materials:  Pathogen Safety Data Sheets

For an SDS, if the manufacturer is on this list, try here first.

Additional chemical information, not in SDS form, may also be useful. Here are
some good resources.

Additional Resources