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Safety Data Sheets (SDS)

What is an SDS?

A Safety Data Sheet (SDS), formerly known as Material Safety Data Sheet (SDS) is a document that contains information (see below) on the potential health, physical and environmental hazards of a substance or a product, and serves as an essential training component of the UMD occupational safety and health program. 

The intent of the SDS is to inform/warn the user (students, employees, and the general consumer) about the hazards of the substance, i.e. outcome of exposure, what to do if accidents occur, and provides precautionary information to warn against the product's hazards that are likely to cause injuries, including how to recognize symptoms of overexposure, and what to do if accidents occur.

Safety Data Sheets are prepared by the supplier or manufacturer of the material in accordance with Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), title 29, part 1910.1200.  As of June 1, 2015, State and federal OSHA require that all SDSs given employees to be of a uniform format, containing 16 sections in compliance with the GHS1 requirements. The sections are to be numbered 1 to 16, each section with an assigned section headings, and associated information.

Minnesota Rules 5206.0800 Availability of Information requires that a Safety Data Sheet be made available for each hazardous substance or harmful physical agent* to which employees are routinely exposed in the worplace. 

SDS Sections and Related Content

Section 1, Identification includes product identifier2; manufacturer or distributor name, address, phone number; emergency phone number; recommended use; and restrictions on use.

Section 2, Hazard(s) identification includes all hazards regarding the chemical; required label elements3.

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)4; Threshold Limit Values (TLVs)5; 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, including effect on environment (aquatic life and the ozone layer, etc.)

Section 13, Disposal considerations6

Section 14, Transport information

Section 15, Regulatory information

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


1 GHS: the Globally Harmonized System for the Classification of Chemicals, adopted by The Minnesota OSHA in May 2012 as part the Employee Right to know Law based on federal guidelines
2 Product Identifier: includes Chemical Name(s), Formula, Chemical Abstract Number (CAS#), Product#
3 Label elements:Container's label is now required by GHS to have 6 element including the product identifier, a pictogram(s), a signal word, a hazard statement, a precautionary statement, and the chemical supplier information.
4 Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL):The OSHA permissible exposure limit (PEL or OSHA PEL) is a legal limit, established by OSHA, on the concentration or amount of a chemical substance or physical agent. For chemicals, the PEL is usually expressed in parts per million (ppm), or in milligrams per cubic meter (mg/m3). For physical agents such as noise the PEL is specific to the agent. PELs are usually given as a 8 hour time-weighted average (TWA) and are found in the Z-Tables of 29 CFR 1910.1000.  PELs are based on the TLV values.
5 Threshold Limit Value (TLV): The threshold limit value (TLV) of a chemical substance is a level to which a worker can be exposed day after day for a working lifetime without suffering an adverse health effects. TLVs are are published annually by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH). They are an estimate based on the known toxicity in humans or animals of a given chemical substance. 
6 Disposal Consideration: info on how to dispose of the material that should be based on Local, and state, as well as federal regulations. See UMD waste disposal procedure.  
Physical Agents: are non chemical or infectious agents to which employees maybe exposed to routinely in in the workplace and consist of Noise, Laser, Ionizing Radiation, Radio Frequency, Microwave Radiation, UV Radiation, Heat Stress, Cold Stress, and Vibration

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