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Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) are generally prepared by a product's manufacturer to provide information to the user on the physical and health hazards of the chemical or product. An SDS must include the following information about a chemical or a chemical product:

  1. Product identification
  2. Hazard(s) identification
  3. Composition / information on ingredients
  4. First-aid measures
  5. Fire-fighting measures
  6. Accidental release measures
  7. Handling and storage
  8. Exposure controls / personal protection
  9. Physical and chemical properties
  10. Stability and reactivity
  11. Toxicological information
  12. Ecological information
  13. Disposal considerations
  14. Transport information
  15. Regulatory information
  16. Other information

Manufacturers are required to complete and revise SDSs when new information becomes available. If information is not available, this should be stated on the SDS. There should be no blanks on the SDS. Each department is responsible for maintaining an SDS binder with current copies of each SDS and an inventory of materials used.

2.1 Employee Requests

Individual SDSs can be obtained from the SDS link on the EH&S website or by contacting EH&S by phone, fax or e-mail. When requesting an SDS, include the chemical or product name exactly as it appears on the label, and include the manufacturer's name and address.

If an SDS is needed after-hours and the EH&S Department is closed, contact your supervisor or access the SDS through the EH&S website. Area supervisors are responsible for ensuring access to SDSs when EH&S is closed.

If the SDS is not received within 30 calendar days after a written request has been made, EH&S will notify the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries in writing with a copy of the original request, chemical name, and manufacturer. The Department of Labor and Industries then attempts to obtain and forward the requested SDS to EH&S.

2.2 Chemicals at the Fred Hutch

Each department is responsible for maintaining a current list of hazardous chemicals in a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) binder. SDSs for each chemical used at the Fred Hutch can be obtained online using the SDS links on the EH&S website or by calling EH&S.

Most hazardous chemicals can be categorized into the following general hazard classes. Some chemicals fit into more than one category. The following definitions of these categories include potential health effects and examples of chemicals in each class.

2.2.1 Acid

A chemical with a pH of less than 2.5 (corrosive) that can cause severe burns of the skin, eyes, or digestive system. Examples include hydrochloric acid, acetic acid, and phosphoric acid (Uri-Solv).

2.2.2 Base

A chemical with a pH of greater than 12 (may be labeled as a corrosive), which can cause serious eye and skin damage with contact. Examples include potassium hydroxide (Amsco Alkaline Detergent #18) and sodium hydroxide.

2.2.3 Irritant

A chemical that produces an irritating effect when in contact with skin, eyes, nose, or respiratory system. Examples include sodium chloride, Freon, and ethylene glycol.

2.2.4 Allergen/Sensitizer

A chemical that can cause an abnormal immune response in an individual sensitized to it. Examples include epoxy resins, gluteraldehyde, wood dust, and formaldehyde.

2.2.5 Carcinogen

A select carcinogen is a substance that meets OSHA's definition of a chemical proven to cause cancer in humans or which is likely to cause cancer in humans (see Chapter III, Section 12.11). Examples include acrylamide, asbestos, benzene, formaldehyde, methylene chloride, wood dusts, and silica.

A suspect carcinogen is a substance for which the carcinogenic potential in humans is not known but for which animal and other experimental evidence of carcinogenicity exists. Examples include lead compounds, methyl mercury compounds, and urethane.

2.2.6 Gas

Gases can cause a wide range of toxic effects upon inhalation. Depending on the type of gas, the effect may occur rapidly or slowly. Common gas hazard classes include flammable gases, such as acetylene, methane, and hydrogen; simple asphyxiants (gases which displace air), such as nitrogen or argon; and chemical asphyxiants (gases which interfere with oxygen metabolism in the body), such as carbon monoxide.

2.2.7 Flammable

A material that will ignite readily from common sources of heat, and that will ignite at a temperature of 600°F or less. Flammable liquids have a flash point below 100°F. Flammable solids ignite readily and have an ignition temperature below 212°F. Examples include gasoline, alcohols, and some paints and adhesives.

2.2.8 Oxidizer

Any solid or liquid that promotes combustion in other materials, thereby causing fire. Examples include oxygen, nitric acid, chromic acid, and hydrogen peroxide.

2.2.9 Reactive

A chemical susceptible to undergoing a reaction or change that may result in dangerous side effects, such as explosion, burning, and corrosive or toxic emissions. Examples include acetyl bromide, cyanogen bromide, and potassium cyanide.

2.2.10 Toxic

A material that causes illness or death if sufficient quantity is inhaled, absorbed, ingested, or otherwise introduced into the body. All chemicals are toxic in sufficient quantity. Toxic substances are those with an oral rat LD50 of between 50 and 500 mg/kg body weight. Examples include isocyanate paints and sealers, lead, and bleach.

2.2.11 Highly Toxic

A substance with an oral rat LD50 of between 1 and 50 mg/kg of body weight for the rat when administered orally.

2.2.12 Dangerously Toxic

A substance with an oral rat LD50 of <1mg/kg body weight.

2.2.13 Target Organ Effector

A substance with toxic effects that cause disease of a specific organ: liver, kidney, skin, nervous system, blood or hemopoietic system, lung, reproductive capability, or eyes.