A Safety Data Sheet, or SDS, (formerly known as Material Safety Data Sheet, or MSDS) is a document compiling data on a chemical substance with the goal of guiding users on its safe use and handling. The sheets are provided by the chemical manufacturer, distributor, or importer and contain information on substance identification, company contacts, physical properties, chemical behavior, hazards, proper handling, and emergency response.
In conjunction with the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of the U.N., OSHA now prescribes 16 standard sections and content for SDSs. Become familiar with the SDS format by reviewing the OSHA Brief on Safety Data Sheets or the even briefer OSHA QUICKCARD for Safety Data Sheets.
Look for practical laboratory information in sections such as the following:
The chemical stock room keeps copies of SDSs that are shipped by manufacturers along with their chemicals. However, you can find SDSs readily at a number of different web sites, including those of the manufacturing and distributing companies.
International Chemical Safety Cards (ICSC) are separate from SDSs, but contain similar types of information. They are a joint effort of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) and are peer-reviewed. They are produced in English and then translated into a variety of languages.