What's an SDS?

A Safety Data Sheet (SDS) is used by chemical manufacturers and importers to convey both the physical hazards (pH, flashpoint, flammability, etc.) and also the health hazards (carcinogenicity, teratogenicity, etc.) of their chemicals to the end user

  • SDSs are a critical component of the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard
    • This standard (29 CFR 1910.1200(g)) mandates that workers have a right to know what hazards are associated with the chemicals they use in the workplace 
  • Both manufacturers of chemicals and employers with chemicals in their workplace, must be in compliance with this regulation
    • It is the most often cited violation by OSHA, with fines of more than $70,000 per violation per instance.

When creating your SDS, you will need to gather and provide some of the items from the list below, depending on your specific needs and/or requirements. Furthermore, the OSHA SDS format has the following required categories that must be on every SDS:

Section 1, Identification;

(a) Product identifier used on the label;
(b) Other means of identification;
(c) Recommended use of the chemical and restrictions on use;
(d) Name, address, and telephone number of the chemical manufacturer, importer, or other responsible
(e) Emergency phone number.

Section 2, Hazard(s) identification;

(a) Classification of the chemical
(b) Signal word, hazard statement(s), symbol(s) and precautionary statement(s). (Hazard symbols may be provided as graphical reproductions in black and white or the name of the symbol, e.g., flame, skull and crossbones);
(c) Describe any hazards not otherwise classified that have been identified during the classification
(d) Where an ingredient with unknown acute toxicity is used in a mixture at a concentration
≥1% and the mixture is not classified based on testing of the mixture as a whole, a statement
that X% of the mixture consists of ingredient(s) of unknown acute toxicity is required.

Section 3, Composition/information on ingredients;

For Substances
(a) Chemical name;
(b) Common name and synonyms;
(c) CAS number and other unique identifiers;
(d) Impurities and stabilizing additives which are themselves classified and which contribute to
the classification of the substance.

For Mixtures
In addition to the information required for substances:
(a) The chemical name and concentration (exact percentage) or concentration ranges of all ingredients
which are classified as health hazards in accordance with paragraph (d) of
§ 1910.1200 and
(1) Are present above their cut-off/concentration limits; or
(2) Present a health risk below the cut-off/concentration limits.
(b) The concentration (exact percentage) shall be specified unless a trade secret claim is
made in accordance with paragraph (i) of § 1910.1200, when there is batch-to-batch variability
in the production of a mixture, or for a group of substantially similar mixtures (See
A. with similar chemical composition. In these cases, concentration ranges may be

For All Chemicals Where a Trade Secret is Claimed
Where a trade secret is claimed in accordance with paragraph (i) of § 1910.1200, a statement
that the specific chemical identity and/or exact percentage (concentration) of composition
has been withheld as a trade secret is required.

(Note: you will need to provide this when authoring with us);

Section 4, First-aid measures;

(a) Description of necessary measures, subdivided according to the different routes of exposure,
i.e., inhalation, skin and eye contact, and ingestion;
(b) Most important symptoms/effects, acute and delayed.
(c) Indication of immediate medical attention and special treatment needed, if necessary.

Section 5, Fire-fighting measures;

(a) Suitable (and unsuitable) extinguishing media.
(b) Specific hazards arising from the chemical (e.g., nature of any hazardous combustion products).
(c) Special protective equipment and precautions for fire-fighters.

Section 6, Accidental release measures;

(a) Personal precautions, protective equipment, and emergency procedures.
(b) Methods and materials for containment and cleaning up.

Section 7, Handling and storage;

(a) Precautions for safe handling.
(b) Conditions for safe storage, including any incompatibilities.

Section 8, Exposure controls/personal protection;

(a) OSHA permissible exposure limit (PEL), American Conference of Governmental Industrial
Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV), and any other exposure limit used or recommended
by the chemical manufacturer, importer, or employer preparing the safety data
sheet, where available.
(b) Appropriate engineering controls.
(c) Individual protection measures, such as personal protective equipment.

Section 9, Physical and chemical properties;

(a) Appearance (physical state, color, etc.);
(b) Odor;
(c) Odor threshold;
(d) pH;
(e) Melting point/freezing point;
(f) Initial boiling point and boiling range;
(g) Flash point;
(h) Evaporation rate;
(i) Flammability (solid, gas);
(j) Upper/lower flammability or explosive limits;
(k) Vapor pressure;
(l) Vapor density;
(m) Relative density;
(n) Solubility(ies);
(o) Partition coefficient: n-octanol/water;
(p) Auto-ignition temperature;
(q) Decomposition temperature;
(r) Viscosity; 

(Note: If you have tested your product, there are minimum physical/chemical properties needed to author);

Section 10, Stability and reactivity;

(a) Reactivity;
(b) Chemical stability;
(c) Possibility of hazardous reactions;
(d) Conditions to avoid (e.g., static discharge, shock, or vibration);
(e) Incompatible materials;
(f) Hazardous decomposition products.

Section 11, Toxicological information;

Description of the various toxicological (health) effects and the available data used to identify
those effects, including:
(a) Information on the likely routes of exposure (inhalation, ingestion, skin and eye contact);
(b) Symptoms related to the physical, chemical and toxicological characteristics;
(c) Delayed and immediate effects and also chronic effects from short- and long-term exposure;
(d) Numerical measures of toxicity (such as acute toxicity estimates).
(e) Whether the hazardous chemical is listed in the National Toxicology Program (NTP) Report
on Carcinogens (latest edition) or has been found to be a potential carcinogen in the International
Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Monographs (latest edition), or by OSHA.

Note 1: To be consistent with the GHS, an SDS must also include the following headings in this order:

Section 12, Ecological information;

(a) Ecotoxicity (aquatic and terrestrial, where available);
(b) Persistence and degradability;
(c) Bioaccumulative potential;
(d) Mobility in soil;
(e) Other adverse effects (such as hazardous to the ozone layer).

Section 13, Disposal considerations;

Description of waste residues and information on their safe handling and methods of disposal,
including the disposal of any contaminated packaging.

Section 14, Transport information;

(a) UN number;
(b) UN proper shipping name;
(c) Transport hazard class(es);
(d) Packing group, if applicable;
(e) Environmental hazards (e.g., Marine pollutant (Yes/No));
(f) Transport in bulk (according to Annex II of MARPOL 73/78 and the IBC Code);
(g) Special precautions which a user needs to be aware of, or needs to comply with, in connection
with transport or conveyance either within or outside their premises. 

Section 15, Regulatory information;

Safety, health and environmental regulations specific for the product in question.

Note 2: OSHA will not be enforcing information requirements in sections 12 through 15, as these areas are not under its jurisdiction.

Section 16, Other information, including date of preparation or last revision.


Find the full text of OSHA's SDS requirements here.