Safety Data Sheet

You can access our Safety Data Sheets online if you are on campus.

A Safety Data Sheet (SDS) is required for any newly created chemicals, especially if the material will be sent to another institution. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states, in the Hazard Communications Standard (29 C.F.R. 1910.1200(g)(1)):

Chemical manufacturers and importers shall obtain or develop a safety data sheet for each hazardous chemical they produce or import. Employers shall have a safety data sheet in the workplace for each hazardous chemical which they use.

Case Western Reserve University researchers who synthesize new chemicals or new formulations of an existing chemical are considered “chemical manufacturers” and are responsible for generating an SDS for these newly created chemicals. OSHA clarified this requirement in a standards interpretation letter on February 5th, 2004 in response to a question from a LSU researcher.

A Description of an SDS is provided to help researchers comply with OSHA regulations. Instructions to properly complete the SDS follow below:

Chemical Identity

The identity of a newly synthesized chemical must be entered into the SDS. This field should contain:

  • Chemical name, exactly as it appears on the outside of the container;
  • Molecular formula; and
  • Molecular weight (if known).

Every space must be completed on the SDS. So, an inapplicable field should receive the abbreviation N/A to indicate information is not applicable or not available. 

Section I — Manufacture Information

Information about the person who is primarily responsible for the synthesis of the chemical must be entered.

  • Name: Full name of the person who is primarily responsible for the creation of the new chemical
  • Telephone number: Office number or laboratory number of the responsible person
  • Emergency number: 24-hour contact number(s) for responsible person should an emergency occur.
  • Address: Case Western Reserve University address of the responsible person.
  • Date prepared: Month, day, and year when the SDS was created or changed.

Section II — Hazardous ingredients/identity information

All known constituents of the newly created chemical must be noted. This section also allows for the identification of permissible exposure limit defined by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) and the threshold limit value defined by the American Conference of Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH).

All components of the chemical or mixture must be identified by chemical name or common name. If possible, identify the percent of each chemical that is incorporated into the final product. If permissible exposure limit or threshold limit values are available for the chemical, enter that value in an appropriate area. Newly synthesized chemicals are unlikely to have exposure limits because of the volume of testing required.

If the chemical or mixture has only a few materials, entering N/A into the extra spaces is not needed.

Section III Through Section V

It is understood that information required in these sections may be unavailable for newly synthesized chemicals. Also, no requirement exists for researchers to conduct experiments or testing to determine the properties of new substances. These sections are used for researchers to input known information.

  • Boiling point: the temperature at which a liquid changes to vapor state, at a given pressure; usually expressed in degrees Fahrenheit at sea level pressure (760 mm Hg, or 1 atm).
  • Hazardous decomposition or byproducts: these are materials that may be present after the breakdown or decomposition of a substance by heat, chemical reaction, electrolysis, decay or other processes.
  • Hazardous polymerization concern: hazardous polymerization is a reaction, which takes place at a rate that releases large amounts of energy. If hazardous polymerization can occur the SDS will usually list conditions under which the reaction could start.
  • Evaporation rate: the rate that a material will vaporize when compared to the rate of vaporization of a known material (n-butyl acetate). The evaporation rate can be useful in evaluating the health and fire hazards of a material.
  • Flashpoint: the lowest temperature at which the vapor of a combustible liquid can be made to ignite momentarily in air. Typically, two methods are used to determine flashpoint, closed or open cup.
  • Incompatibility: a material that may cause dangerous reactions in direct contact occurs should be noted in this section.
  • Lower/upper explosion limits: percent of air mixture required for substance to ignite.
  • Melting point: temperature at which a solid substance changes to a liquid state.
  • Specific gravity: the weight of a material compared to the weight of an equal volume of water; an expression of the density of the material.
  • Stability: expression of the material’s ability to remain unchanged. A material is stable if it remains in the same form under expected and reasonable conditions of storage and use.
  • Vapor pressure: the pressure exerted by a saturated vapor above its own liquid in a closed container, in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) at 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius), unless stated otherwise.

Section VI — Health Hazard Data

The health consequences because of exposure to a newly synthesized chemical should be noted in this section. Again, it is understood that much of this information will be unknown for a newly synthesized substance, but any known information must be noted.

  • Routes of exposure: chemical exposures can occur through one or more routes into the human body. It is important to note the route that newly synthesized chemical is likely to take. If a chemical is a lightweight dust or highly volatile chemical inhalation is possible. Liquids are more likely to be ingested or absorbed through the skin.
  • Carcinogenicity: chemicals that are known or suspected of causing cancer are investigated by many regulatory agencies and independent organizations and are classified according ability of the chemical to cause cancer. If the mixture in question has the ability to cause cancer, it may have been investigated by one of the organizations listed. If the material is classified so by these organizations, it should be noted.

Section VII — Precautions for Safe Handling and Storage

This section should indicate any special requirements for storage, such as temperature, environment (under inert gas), and humidity.

Section VIII — Control Measures

This section should elaborate on any safety precautions that should be taken when working with the newly created material.

Hazardous Materials Shipping

To protect people, the environment, and property, the transport of hazardous materials is heavily regulated by two distinct organizations.

  • The Department of Transportation (DOT): Through the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) the DOT oversees the safe transport of more than one million packages daily via ground, air, rail, and boat domestically.
  • The International Air Transport Association (IATA): Formed by nearly 250 airlines worldwide this organization created the Dangerous Goods Regulations which provide guidelines for the transportation of hazardous material by air only. These regulations are typically more restrictive than DOT regulations and must be followed when material is being shipped using common carriers such as Fed Ex, DHL, and World Couriers.
  • Learn more details about shipping hazardous material.