What’s the difference between a SDS and a MSDS?

There are two basic differences between an SDS and the old-fashion MSDS.  The SDS requires 16 elements and they must be in a specified order as they are listed in the table below.  An old-fashioned MSDS did not specify the order and it did not require the same set of 16 elements.  For a full description of the differences, see the table below.

The table below is from OSHA’s website and was edited to show just the comparison between GHS and OSHA.  For the full table, go here http://www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/ghs.html#a

Appendix A

Comparison of MSDS/SDS Elements

The following tables provide a comparison of MSDS elements for the following:

  • Globally Harmonized System1
  • ISO Safety Data Sheet for Chemical Products 11014-1: 2003 DRAFT 2
  • ANSI MSDS Preparation Z400.1- 2004 3
  • OSHA Hazard Communication Standard 29#CFR#1910.12004


MSDS Comparison
1. Product and company identification
  • GHS product identifier.
  • Other means of identification.
  • Recommended use of the chemical and restrictions on use.
  • Supplier’s details (including name, address, phone number etc).
  • Emergency phone number.
  • Product identity same as on label.
  • Name address and telephone number of the manufacturer, distributor, employer or other responsible party.
2. Hazards identification
  • GHS classification of the substance/mixture and any regional information.
  • GHS label elements, including precautionary statements. (Hazard symbols may be provided as a graphical reproduction of the symbols in black and white or the name of the symbol, e.g., flame, skull and crossbones.)
  • Other hazards which do not result in classification (e.g., dust explosion hazard) or are not covered by the GHS.
  • health hazards including acute and chronic effects, listing target organs or systems
  • signs & symptoms of exposure
  • conditions generally recognized as aggravated by exposure
  • primary routes of exposure
  • if listed as a carcinogen by OSHA, IARC, NTP
  • physical hazards, including the potential for fire, explosion, and reactivity
3. Composition/in-formation on ingredients Substance

  • Chemical identity
  • Common name, synonyms, etc.
  • CAS number, EC number, etc.
  • Impurities and stabilizing additives which are themselves classified and which contribute to the classification of the substance.


  • The chemical identity and concentration or concentration ranges of all ingredients which are hazardous within the meaning of the GHS and are present above their cut-off levels.
  • Cut-off level for reproductive toxicity, carcinogenicity and category 1 mutagenicity is ³ 0.1%
  • Cut-off level for all other hazard classes is ³ 1%

Note: For information on ingredients, the competent authority rules for CBI take priority over the rules for product identification

  • Chemical and common name of ingredients contributing to known hazards
  • For untested mixtures, the chemical & common name of ingredients at 1% or more that present a health hazard and those that present a physical hazard in the mixture
  • Ingredients at 0.1% or greater, if carcinogens
4. First-aid measures
  • Description of necessary measures, subdivided according to the different routes of exposure, i.e., inhalation, skin and eye contact and ingestion.
  • Most important symptoms/effects, acute and delayed.
  • Indication of immediate medical attention and special treatment needed, if necessary.
  • emergency & first aid procedures
5. Firefighting measures
  • Suitable (and unsuitable) extinguishing media.
  • Specific hazards arising from the chemical (e.g., nature of any hazardous combustion products).
  • Special protective equipment and precautions for fire-fighters.
  • generally applicable control measures
  • flammable property information such as flashpoint
  • physical hazards including the potential for fire, explosion, and reactivity
6. Accidental release measures
  • Personal precautions, protective equipment and emergency procedures.
  • Environmental precautions.
  • Methods and materials for containment and cleaning up.
  • procedures for clean up of spills and leaks
7. Handling and storage
  • Precautions for safe handling.
  • Conditions for safe storage, including any incompatibilities.
  • Precautions for safe handling & use, including appropriate hygenic practices.
8. Exposure controls/personal protection
  • Control parameters (e.g., occupational exposure limit values or biological limit values).
  • Appropriate engineering controls.
  • Individual protection measures, such as personal protective equipment.
  • General applicable control measures
  • appropriate engineering controls and work practices
  • protective measures during maintenance & repair
  • personal protective equipment
  • permissible exposure levels, threshold limit values, listed by OSHA, ACGIH, or established company limits.
9. Physical and chemical properties
  • Appearance (physical state, colour, etc.)
  • Odour
  • Odour threshold
  • pH
  • melting point/freezing point
  • initial boiling point and boiling range
  • flash point:
  • evaporation rate
  • flammability (solid, gas)
  • upper/lower flammability or explosive limits
  • vapour pressure
  • vapour density
  • relative density:
  • solubility(ies)
  • partition coefficient: n-octanol/water
  • auto-ignition temperature
  • decomposition temperature
  • characteristics of hazardous chemicals such as vapor pressure & density.
  • physical hazards including the potential for fire, explosion, and reactivity.
10. Stability and reactivity
  • Chemical stability.
  • Possibility of hazardous reactions.
  • Conditions to avoid (e.g., static discharge, shock or vibration).
  • Incompatible materials,
  • Hazardous decomposition products.
  • organic peroxides, pyrophoric, unstable # (reactive), or water-reactive hazards
  • physical hazards, including reactivity and hazardous polymerization
11. Toxicological information
  • Concise but complete and comprehensible description of the various toxicological (health) effects and the available data used to identify those effects, including:
  • Information on the likely routes of exposure (inhalation, ingestion, skin and eye contact);
  • Symptoms related to the physical, chemical and toxicological characteristics;
  • Delayed and immediate effects and also chronic effects from short- and long-term exposure;.
  • Numerical measures of toxicity (such as acute toxicity estimates).
  • See also Section 2 [health hazards Including acute and chronic effects, listing target organs or systems
  • signs & symptoms of exposure
  • primary routes of exposure
  • if listed as a carcinogen by OSHA, IARC, NTP]
12. Ecological information
  • Ecotoxicity (aquatic and terrestrial, where available).
  • Persistence and degradability
  • Bioaccumulative potential
  • Mobility in soil
  • Other adverse effects
  • No present requirements.
13. Disposal considerations
  • Description of waste residues and information on their safe handling and methods of disposal, including any contaminated packaging.
  • No present requirements,
  • See section 7,
14. Transport information
  • UN number.
  • UN Proper shipping name.
  • Transport Hazard class(es).
  • Packing group, if applicable.
  • Marine pollutant (Y/N).
  • Special precautions which a user needs to be aware of or needs to comply with in connection with transport or conveyance either within or outside their premises.
  • No present requirements,
15. Regulatory information
  • Safety, health and environmental regulations specific for the product in question.
  • No present requirements.
16. Other information
  • Other information including information on preparation and revision of the SDS.
  • Date of preparation of MSDS or date of last change

1. Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS), United Nations, 2005.
2.  ISO 11014-1:2003 DRAFT Safety Data Sheet for Chemical Products.
3. American National Standard for Hazardous Industrial Chemicals-MSDS Preparation (ANSI Z-400.1-2004).
4. U.S. DOL, OSHA, 29 CFR 1910.1200, HAZCOM.

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