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|Title: 06/03/1999 - One MSDS may apply to multiple complex mixtures having similar hazards.|
|Record Type: Interpretation||Standard Number: 1910.1200(g)(4)|
June 3, 1999
Ms. Rosetta Sumter
2407 Birchwood Court
North Brunswick, New Jersey 08902
Dear Ms. Sumter:
Thank you for your January 8, 1999 letter, addressed to the Secretary of Labor, The Honorable Alexis Herman. Your letter was forwarded to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for response.
You raise concerns regarding the disclosure of hazardous ingredients on a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) from Bayway Refining Company. Specifically, you questioned whether OSHA allows generic terms such as “hydrotreated light distillate, petroleum” under the hazard-information section of the MSDS when percentages of individual components can be ascertained.
The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) states that where “complex mixtures have similar hazards and contents (i.e., the chemical ingredients are essentially the same, but the specific composition varies from mixture to mixture), the chemical manufacturer, importer, or employer may prepare one material safety data sheet to apply to all of these similar mixtures” (29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(4)). Therefore, while it may be possible for a manufacturer to conduct gas chromatography on each batch of fuel to determine its exact ingredients, there is no such requirement. Jet fuels are considered a complex mixture and the health effects of each batch would be similar, regardless of the specific composition. Our Compliance Directive, “Inspection Procedures for the Hazard Communication Standard (CPL 2-2.38D) further explains: |
"Where the evidence supports similar health hazards for a class or family of chemicals, it is acceptable for the MSDS to report those findings with respect to the entire class or family. Thus, a "generic" MSDS may address a group of complex mixtures, such as crude oil, natural gas, or bricks, which have similar hazards and characteristics because their chemical ingredients are essentially the same even though the specific composition varies in each mixture."
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We requested a copy of your case file from OSHA’s Avenel Area Office and found that they have provided you with extensive information regarding your complaints. The Avenel office reviewed the MSDS from Bayway Refining Company and concluded that the information contained therein met the requirements of the Hazard Communication Standard. Additionally, three investigations have been conducted in response to your concerns; at your request, OSHA has provided you with a printout of the inspection history of your former employer, Saybolt, Inc. Further, the New Jersey State Consultative Service was contacted by Saybolt, Inc., and a comprehensive consultative inspection of the company was conducted.|
While we understand the difficulty of your situation, the company has complied with its responsibilities under the HCS. We regret your feeling that OSHA’s New York and New Jersey offices have not responded adequately to your complaints. Our review of this matter indicates that these offices have responded to and followed up on your complaints appropriately.
We advise your physician to treat you based on your symptoms, regardless of your exposures. If your physician has specific questions regarding the potential health effects of the exposures you describe, your physician may contact Dr. E. Schwartz, Acting Director of the Office of Occupational Medicine at (202) 693-2008.
The official, public domain, OSHA version of this document is available at http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=INTERPRETATIONS&p_id=22746&p_text_version=FALSE