From: Mary Beth Mulcahy <mulcahy.marybeth**At_Symbol_Here**GMAIL.COM>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] "Read the SDS"
Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2018 06:44:11 -0600
Reply-To: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**PRINCETON.EDU>
Message-ID: CAMK77sBhcr8ypivUADmSCmLBiRMP0cDr8NxJxqfBtHd8LjuC=w**At_Symbol_Here**

[M]SDSs have piqued my interest since I took my first HAZWOPER course. I remember wondering during that course how I managed to get a PhD in chemistry without ever learning how to read an MSDS--I didn't know what the NFPA diamond was or what IDLH stood for. So, my question to all of you in the classroom, how do you teach your students to read/interpret an SDS?

This morning I looked up the SDS for NaCl and H2SO4. Looking at the two of them side-by-side, I think even a novice could clearly differentiate that sulfuric acid is more hazardous than table salt based on the SDSs. If though the novice did not have the SDSs to compare and you took the name off of the SDS, I wonder how a novice would interpret the hazards of table salt. For example, the SDS for NaCl that I am looking for exposure guidelines states "This product does not contain any hazardous materials with occupational exposure limits established by the region specific regulatory bodies," and then under Other International Regulations states "Mexico Grade-Severe risk, Grade 4." How does a novice interpret that? Do you teach your students the limitations of regulatory-based exposure limits? Do you teach them about Mexico Grades? Do you focus on the NFPA diamond?

I would hope that after reading the SDS for table salt that a novice woudl feel comfortable using the chemical, but I'm not sure they would if you removed the name of the chemical from it. Anyone out there ever handed out a sodium chloride SDS in an intro chem class (with the name of the chemical removed) and asked the students if they would feel comfortable using it?

Mary Beth Mulcahy

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