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The Safety Data Sheet (SDS) FAQ: Miscellaneous

In This Section

  1. Are there any iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android etc. apps for SDS's?
  2. Are SDS's really any good? For example, the SDS for water says to flush with water in case of skin contact.
  3. I need an SDS expert witness.
  4. My question is not on this list. Can you help?

  1. Are there any iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android etc. apps for SDS's?
  2. There is at least one and several that provide related information. Other than the first two listed here, we have not reviewed them. The links below are to the Apple App Store (given the large number of different Android download sites, some of which contain malware, we aren't comfortable providing links to those):

    DOT Corrosive label
    Be sure you're in compliance with DOT placards and labels from Safety Emporium.
    • WISER (Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders) is an excellent free iOS app to assist first responders during HazMat incidents and contains a lot of valuable information, but it does not include full SDS's.
    • The PHMSA (U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration)'s 2016 Emergency Response Guidebook is a well-known resource for emergency responders. Like WISER, it has a lot of specific chemical information, but does not contain SDS's. See our entry on DOT for more on the PHMSA, ERG, and PDF-downloadable versions in English and Spanish.
    • The somewhat misleadingly named app Chemical Safety Data Sheets - ICSC does not have SDS's, but rather International Chemical Safety Cards [ICSC], which are summaries of about 1,700 chemicals with lots of SDS-related information. The information is still very useful, of course. The web site for the database at the International Labour Organization is
    • SDS Mobile by KHA (Online-MSDS) says it will let you "add an unlimited number of frequently referenced SDSs to your personal 'My Favorites' binder. Forward complete SDSs by fax, e-mail, text message; or send SDS through social share to Twitter, Facebook and other apps." The number of reviews of this product in the App Store is insufficient for us to comment on the quality of the app.
    • NIOSH offers its NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards Mobile Web Application which, strictly speaking, is not an app, but an HTML 5 download that's pretty slick. The Pocket Guide is also available in print, PDF, and on-line formats. Again, these are not SDS's but they contain some very comprehensive SDS-lik information.
    • If you are aware of any others or have feedback on any of the above, please let us know.

    We have pages devoted to traditional desktop software as well as web-based SDS compliance soluitions you can access through your mobile browser. See our SDS Software and SDS Suppliers/Translators pages for more information.

  3. Are SDS's really any good? For example, the SDS for water says to flush with water in case of skin contact.
  4. laboratory pure water faucet
    Get your pure water valves and faucets from Safety Emporium.

    That's a valid concern. Water does not require an SDS because it does not meet the OSHA definition of hazardous, but that hasn't stopped companies from issuing them for non-hazardous materials. However, remember that even seemingly "harmless" substances such as table salt (sodium chloride, NaCl) may be dangerously incompatible with other substances or when their concentration or amount is higher than we normally encounter. See this 1993 OSHA interpretation letter for more information.

    For example, many think that oxygen poses no unusual risks because we breathe it all the time (it is 21% of the Earth's atmosphere). But at 100% concentration, it is an extreme fire hazard and can even ignite some organic materials spontaneously!

    Common table sugar wouldn't seem dangerous. But a 2008 sugar dust explosion at a Georgia sugar refinery killed eleven workers and injured 44 others, 20 of whom required treatment at burn centers. So maybe an SDS with a warning about dust explosions isn't so silly after all.

    For a real-life assessment of 88 commonly used chemicals, take a look at Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Disposal of Chemicals which is free to read on-line. Also check out "How should we handle SDS requests for materials that do not require an SDS?" elsewhere in this FAQ.

    Even if some of the information in SDS's is in there to satisfy lawyers, it is in your best interest to assume a worst case scenario. A good analogy is professionals who work with blood products. These workers must assume "universal precautions", assuming that every blood sample they work with could transmit HIV or hepatitis even though few actually do. The payoff is in a greatly reduced risk of accident due to complacency.

    Respect the chemicals you are working with and know their hazards (and how you would respond to a spill, leak or other accident) before using them!

    For a humorous look at chemophobia (fear of chemicals) and SDS's take a look at the very cleverly done web site (yes, the whole site is a joke...DHMO is water).

  5. I need an SDS expert witness.
  6. As operators of the #1 web site for SDS information, we have provided expert opinions about SDS's and other safety matters for a number of clients. We can provide telephone consultations, written opinions, depositions and/or expert witness testimony on a fee basis. Please contact us.

    You can learn more about our consulting services or the professional backgrounds of our corporate officers if you wish.

  7. My question is not on this list. Can you help?
  8. Didn't see your SDS-related question answered here? Be sure to pop on over to our OSHA SDS Regulations and Interpretations section. There are over 300 official OSHA policy interpretations listed there, and you can either browse through them or perform a keyword search.

    If you're still stuck after looking through that, you can send your question via email to our SDS email address and we'll see if we can help. Please do not bother us with "Where can I find a sheet for ___" type questions - that's what our Where to Find SDS's page is for and we do not have the resources to provide searches for our thousands of daily visitors.

    Finally, please let us know if you think we need to add additional questions to this FAQ or if any of our answers are unclear. You're also welcome to send us praise, thanks, and gifts (which not tax-deductible, alas.).

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