Material Safety Data Sheets (M.S.D.S.):

A Safety Data Sheet (SDS), Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), or product safety data sheet (PSDS) is an important component of product stewardship and occupational health & safety. It is intended to provide workers and emergency personnel with procedures for handling or working with that substance in a safe manner, and includes information such as physical data (melting point, boiling point, flash point, etc.), toxicity, health effects, first aid, reactivity, storage, disposal, protective equipment, and spill-handling procedures. MSDS formats can vary from source to source within a country depending on National Requirements.

MSDSs are a widely used system for cataloging information on chemicals, chemical compounds, and chemical mixtures. MSDS information may include instructions for the safe use and potential hazards associated with a particular material or product. These data sheets can be found anywhere where chemicals are being used. MSDS are also a legal requirement under “REACH REGULATIONS”.

There is also a duty to properly label substances on the basis of physico-chemical, health and/or environmental risk. Labels can include hazard symbols such as the European Union Standard – black diagonal cross on an orange background, used to denote a harmful substance.

A MSDS for a substance is not primarily intended for use by the general consumer, focusing instead on the hazards of working with the material in an occupational setting.

In Europe, the MSDS is required to state the chemical’s risks, safety, and effect on the environment.

It is important to use an MSDS specific to both country and supplier, as the same product (e.g. paints sold under identical brand names by the same company) can have different formulations in different countries. The formulation and hazard of a product using a generic name (e.g. sugar soap) may vary between manufacturers in the same country.

European Union:

Safety Data Sheets (SDS) have been made an integral part of the system of Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 (REACH). The original requirements of REACH for SDSs have been further adapted to take into account the rules for safety data sheets of the Global Harmonised System (GHS) and the implementation of other elements of the GHS into EU legislation that were introduced by Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 (CLP) via an update to Annex II of REACH.

The MSDS follows a 16 section format which is internationally agreed and for substances especially, the SDS should be followed with an Annex which contains the exposure scenarios of this particular substance. The SDS must be supplied in an official language of the Member State(s) where the substance or mixture is placed on the market, unless the Member State(s) concerned provide(s) otherwise (Article 31(5) of REACH).

The 16 sections are;

  • SECTION 1: Identification of the substance/mixture and of the company/undertaking:
    • 1.1. Product identifier
    • 1.2. Relevant identified uses of the substance or mixture and uses advised against
    • 1.3. Details of the supplier of the safety data sheet
    • 1.4. Emergency telephone number
  • SECTION 2: Hazards identification:
    • 2.1. Classification of the substance or mixture
    • 2.2. Label elements
    • 2.3. Other hazards
  • SECTION 3: Composition/information on ingredients:
    • 3.1. Substances
    • 3.2. Mixtures
  • SECTION 4: First aid measures:
    • 4.1. Description of first aid measures
    • 4.2. Most important symptoms and effects, both acute and delayed
    • 4.3. Indication of any immediate medical attention and special treatment needed
  • SECTION 5: Firefighting measures:
    • 5.1. Extinguishing media
    • 5.2. Special hazards arising from the substance or mixture
    • 5.3. Advice for firefighters
  • SECTION 6: Accidental release measures:
    • 6.1. Personal precautions, protective equipment and emergency procedures
    • 6.2. Environmental precautions
    • 6.3. Methods and material for containment and cleaning up
    • 6.4. Reference to other sections
  • SECTION 7: Handling and storage:
    • 7.1. Precautions for safe handling
    • 7.2. Conditions for safe storage, including any incompatibilities
    • 7.3. Specific end use(s)
  • SECTION 8: Exposure controls/personal protection:
    • 8.1. Control parameters
    • 8.2. Exposure controls
  • SECTION 9: Physical and chemical properties:
    • 9.1. Information on basic physical and chemical properties
    • 9.2. Other information
  • SECTION 10: Stability and reactivity:
    • 10.1. Reactivity
    • 10.2. Chemical stability
    • 10.3. Possibility of hazardous reactions
    • 10.4. Conditions to avoid
    • 10.5. Incompatible materials
    • 10.6. Hazardous decomposition products
  • SECTION 11: Toxicological information:
    • 11.1. Information on toxicological effects
  • SECTION 12: Ecological information:
    • 12.1. Toxicity
    • 12.2. Persistence and degradability
    • 12.3. Bioaccumulative potential
    • 12.4. Mobility in soil
    • 12.5. Results of PBT and vPvB assessment
    • 12.6. Other adverse effects
  • SECTION 13: Disposal considerations :
    • 13.1. Waste treatment methods
  • SECTION 14: Transport information:
    • 14.1. UN number
    • 14.2. UN proper shipping name
    • 14.3. Transport hazard class(es)
    • 14.4. Packing group
    • 14.5. Environmental hazards
    • 14.6. Special precautions for user
    • 14.7. Transport in bulk according to Annex II of MARPOL73/78 and the IBC Code
  • SECTION 15: Regulatory information:
    • 15.1. Safety, health and environmental regulations/legislation specific for the substance or mixture
    • 15.2. Chemical safety assessment
  • SECTION 16: Other information: