Science, Tech, Math › Science MSDS or SDS Definition: What Is a Safety Data Sheet? Share Flipboard Email Print ROAProductions / Getty Images Science Chemistry Chemical Laws Basics Molecules Periodic Table Projects & Experiments Scientific Method Biochemistry Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Famous Chemists Activities for Kids Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Chemistry Expert Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Updated January 02, 2020 MSDS is an acronym for Material Safety Data Sheet. A MSDS is a written document that outlines information and procedures for handling and working with chemicals. The document may also be called a safety data sheet (SDS) or product safety data sheet (PSDS). The MSDS format is considered to be an older data sheet style. The United States adopted the Safety Data Sheet to replace the Material Safety Data Sheet in 2012. The SDS is not appreciably different from the MSDS, but the information is presented in consistent manner and is internationally standardized. This is so users can quickly and easily find relevant facts.Current MSDS documents contain physical and chemical property information, potential hazard information, protective measures, storage and transport precautions, emergency procedures including how to handle spills or accidental exposure, disposal recommendations, and manufacturer contact information. Key Takeaways: MSDS or SDS (Safety Data Sheet) MSDS stands for Material Safety Data Sheet. MSDS is an older format that should be replaced by SDS, which is an internationally standardized Safety Data Sheet. MSDS sheets contain basically the same information as SDS, but the language and organization of the information may be different.Both MSDS and SDS are data sheets that describe the properties and hazards of a chemical.SDS are written in English, follow a prescribed format, and use the European Union standard symbols for hazards. MSDS or SDS Purpose The MSDS or SDS for a chemical, compound, or mixture targets workers who deal with a substance in an occupational setting or those needing to transport/store a chemical or deal with accidents. For this reason, the data sheet might not be easily read by a lay person. Cautionary Advice Some products with identical names and sold by the same company may have different formulations, depending on the country. Similarly, generic products may vary in composition from branded products. For this reason, one shouldn't assume safety data sheets are necessarily interchangeable between countries or products. SDS Globally Harmonized System A SDS follows the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals. This is a 16-section format, written in English, that contains the following facts in the specified order: SECTION 1: Identification of the substance/mixture and of the company/undertaking1.1. Product identifier1.2. Relevant identified uses of the substance or mixture and uses advised against1.3. Details of the supplier of the safety data sheet1.4. Emergency telephone numberSECTION 2: Hazards identification2.1. Classification of the substance or mixture2.2. Label elements2.3. Other hazardsSECTION 3: Composition/information on ingredients3.1. Substances3.2. MixturesSECTION 4: First aid measures4.1. Description of first aid measures4.2. Most important symptoms and effects, both acute and delayed4.3. Indication of any immediate medical attention and special treatment neededSECTION 5: Firefighting measures5.1. Extinguishing media5.2. Special hazards arising from the substance or mixture5.3. Advice for firefightersSECTION 6: Accidental release measure6.1. Personal precautions, protective equipment and emergency procedures6.2. Environmental precautions6.3. Methods and material for containment and cleaning up6.4. Reference to other sectionsSECTION 7: Handling and storage7.1. Precautions for safe handling7.2. Conditions for safe storage, including any incompatibilities7.3. Specific end use(s)SECTION 8: Exposure controls/personal protection8.1. Control parameters8.2. Exposure controlsSECTION 9: Physical and chemical properties9.1. Information on basic physical and chemical properties9.2. Other informationSECTION 10: Stability and reactivity10.1. Reactivity10.2. Chemical stability10.3. Possibility of hazardous reactions10.4. Conditions to avoid10.5. Incompatible materials10.6. Hazardous decomposition productsSECTION 11: Toxicological information11.1. Information on toxicological effectsSECTION 12: Ecological information12.1. Toxicity12.2. Persistence and degradability12.3. Bioaccumulative potential12.4. Mobility in soil12.5. Results of PBT and vPvB assessment12.6. Other adverse effectsSECTION 13: Disposal considerations13.1. Waste treatment methodsSECTION 14: Transport information14.1. UN number14.2. UN proper shipping name14.3. Transport hazard class(es)14.4. Packing group14.5. Environmental hazards14.6. Special precautions for user14.7. Transport in bulk according to Annex II of MARPOL73/78 and the IBC CodeSECTION 15: Regulatory information15.1. Safety, health and environmental regulations/legislation specific for the substance or mixture15.2. Chemical safety assessmentSECTION 16: Other information16.2. Date of the latest revision of the SDS Where to Get Safety Data Sheets In the United States, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers make SDSs available to all employees that handle potentially hazardous substances. Further, SDSs must be available to local fire departments, local emergency planning officials, and state planning officials. When a hazardous chemical is purchased, the supplier should send SDS information. While this may be printed, it's more often available online. Companies that supply hazardous chemicals typically use a service that writes and updates data sheets. If you don't have a data sheet for a chemical, you can look it up online. The University of California hosts the SDS Google search. The best way to search for a chemical is by its Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Number (CAS number). The CAS number is a unique identifier defined by the American Chemical Society and is used internationally. Be advised, some formulations are mixtures rather than pure chemicals. The hazard information of a mixture tends not to be the same as the hazards posed by individual components! Sources Janelle, Donald G; Beuthe, Michel (1997). "Globalization and research issues in transportation." Journal of Transport Geography. Elsevier Science Ltd. U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. "Hazard Communication Standard: Safety Data Sheets."