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Safety First:  SDS Basics

Imagine this. While refilling a small dropper bottle in your test kit from a quartsize reagent, you accidentally knock over the larger, uncapped container. You're about to wipe up the spill with a paper towel when you notice a warning on the reagent label:  Danger – Corrosive Acid. Causes Burns. Would you know the proper procedure for cleaning up the spilled chemical? What personal protective equipment is required? How to dispose of the mess?

Water quality professionals encounter testing and treatment chemicals every day that can pose health and safety hazards if stored or handled improperly. To stay safe, refer to the Safety Data Sheet (SDS), formerly named Material Safety Data Sheet, provided by the manufacturer, importer, or distributor before handling any reagent or treatment chemical for the first time or whenever you have a question regarding properties, hazards, handling, or disposal.

Hazard Communication

To fulfil the mission of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires an SDS and hazard label for every chemical classified as hazardous as defined by OSHA. The HCS enables workers to identify applicable hazards when handling chemicals in the workplace and notifies them of the proper precautions that need to be taken when handling, transporting, or cleaning up a hazardous material. Chemical manufacturers and importers must provide an SDS for each hazardous chemical they produce or import, along with a compliant product label. In addition, it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure workers have access to SDSs at all times.

Understanding the Form

With the adoption of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS), OSHA has updated the HCS to align with GHS. The purpose was to harmonize hazard communication regardless of an organization’s distribution network throughout the world. Because of the adoption of GHS, OSHA now requires a 12-section document in a specified format with the option of including four additional sections required by GHS. In response to the updated HCS, Taylor’s SDSs have been reformatted and are now organized as follows:

  • Section 1: Identification
  • Section 2: Hazard(s) identification
  • Section 3: Composition/information on ingredients
  • Section 4: First-aid measures
  • Section 5: Firefighting measures
  • Section 6: Accidental release measures
  • Section 7: Handling and storage
  • Section 8: Exposure controls/personal protection
  • Section 9: Physical and chemical properties
  • Section 10: Stability and reactivity
  • Section 11: Toxicological information
  • Section 12: Ecological information (currently not regulated by OSHA)
  • Section 13: Disposal considerations (currently not regulated by OSHA)
  • Section 14: Transport information (currently not regulated by OSHA)
  • Section 15: Regulatory information (currently not regulated by OSHA)
  • Section 16: Other information

Obtaining Taylor SDSs

We take the responsibility of providing SDSs very seriously and make it easy for you to obtain them. When ordering by phone or fax, you can request SDSs from our Customer Service Department. You can also download SDSs for all Taylor reagents from this website. Simply navigate to Resource Center/Safety Data Sheets to search for a form by reagent number. You will need to have Adobe Acrobat or Acrobat Reader software installed on your computer. To download the most recent version of Acrobat Reader, visit