I don't use NaCl for this, I use the Fisher SDS for "sand" as my example being sure to blackout all references to silica, silicon dioxide, and sand and have a
group discussion of the SDS. We in Michigan are literally surrounded by it. So, it hits home a little better on how they have to interpret it per the form, concentration, and quantity as well as how they will be using it. It is also a great way to introduce
the effects of particle size on hazards just as they also affect other behavior of materials. And, it helps them understand that they do not STOP with the SDS. It still bugs me that teaching SDSs is still so important and using Sax and Bretherick's seems
to be ignored by most.
From: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**PRINCETON.EDU]
On Behalf Of Mary Beth Mulcahy
Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 2018 8:44 AM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] "Read the SDS"
[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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