5 reasons to welcome the New SDS (Safety Data Sheets)

The new SDS is here as most of our dealers, sales representatives, and end-customers know. As of 2016, Avmor is officially transferring from the old MSDS, used for decades, to the new SDS, or safety data sheet.

While this change has created some confusion, overall the new SDS is a step forward, especially for users of professional cleaning solutions and a wide range of other products. This is because one of the key benefits of the new safety data sheets is that it is designed to always have consistent information about products, no matter where they were made or by what manufacturer.

Although it is not a cleaning product, to illustrate the variation in MSDS information that currently exists, let’s compare two descriptions for ethanol. Each MSDS gives a different description:

MSDS #1 Potential health effects:

Ingestion: May cause gastrointestinal discomfort.

Inhalation: May cause irritation to respiratory tract.

MSDS #2 Potential health effects:

Ingestion: May cause gastrointestinal irritation with nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. May cause systemic toxicity with acidosis. May cause central nervous system depression, characterized by excitement, followed by headache, dizziness, drowsiness, or nausea. Advanced stages may cause collapse, unconsciousness, coma, and possible death due to respiratory failure.

Inhalation: Inhalation of high concentrations may cause central nervous system effects characterized by nausea, headache, dizziness, unconsciousness, and coma.

Chronic: May cause reproductive and fetal effects. Laboratory experiments have resulted in mutagenic effects. Animal studies have reported the development of tumors. Prolonged exposure may cause liver, kidney, and heart damage.

If you were to select ethanol with MSDS #1, most likely you would consider ethanol relatively safe to use. However, if you selected the product with the MSDS #2, your concerns about product safety would be increased significantly and most likely you would be far more careful using the product.

Along with safety, here are some more reasons Avmor welcomes the new SDS safety data sheets:
  • They can be written in the language where the product is used, not just English.
  • There is now a standard format for labels and warning signs.
  • Instead of words, hazards are now noted by “pictograms;” warning icons that are understood around the globe.
  • The new will include more headings and information about products, enhancing transparency and hopefully delivering a better understanding of the product.
  • Standardizing the format of the SDS is significant because it means once a cleaning worker understands how to read one product’s SDS, they should be able to read any SDS much more easily. And because this information is most frequently accessed when there is an emergency, making the information easier to understand can help save time and minimize injury.

The following 16 headings appear in all SDS:

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

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

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); ACGIH Threshold Limit Values (TLVs); and any other exposure limit used or recommended by the chemical manufacturer, importer, or employer preparing the SDS where available as well as 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

Section 13, Disposal considerations

Section 14, Transport information

Section 15, Regulatory information

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

Note, sections 12 through 15 are environmentally focused, areas not previously included on the old MSDS.

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