HazCom 2012 and the New U.S. SDS…Demystified

With HazCom 2012, numerous changes will apply to the new SDSs. For pure substances, the hazard classification under the previous system will not be lowered because of the new regulations. Thus, if a chemical was already classified as an irritant in the U.S., it will still be classified as an irritant under HazCom 2012, even if it is not classified as such according to the UN GHS. In essence, the U.S. will adapt the GHS to fit with pre-existing standards. The mixture calculation to be used for health hazards MAY in turn decrease the level of hazards from single substances because the calculation takes into account the concentration of each hazardous ingredient. In addition, there are more technical aspects which will change. OSHA has a good webpage on these differences. In this post, we will highlight differences in Section 3 of the SDS, and also provide a brief overview of sections 12 to 15.


First, from now on, Section 3 will show only chemicals that have a health and/or environmental classification. This means that if you have a flammable product with no ingredients classified for health and/or environmental hazards, then your SDS will show the flammability hazard in Section 2, but will NOT show any ingredients in Section 3. Thus, Section 3 will no longer state chemicals with physical-only hazards or OEL-only values. If a manufacturer still wants to list the chemicals in this section, it will be a matter of choice, but it is not mandatory.


Now let’s take a quick look at Sections 12 to 15. These sections are not monitored or enforced by OSHA, as they are handled by other agencies. However, for complete certainty in regulatory compliance, it is important to list all pertinent regulatory information. OSHA has a webpage on the information required in these sections. Section 12 is concerned with ecological information required for the product, such as ecotoxicity data, biodegradation, etc. Usually this information comes from the chemicals contained in your product, and their effect on the environment. Section 13 contains information on how to dispose of the product, and can be viewed as related to the information in section 12.


Section 14 concerns transport. It is essential to have the correct transport information. An inaccurate SDS could mean a product being ‘blocked at the border’ until all the regulatory statements have been corrected, especially the ones dealing with Transport. Another key section is Section 15. It is necessary to have all the correct information, so that a product can be sent to different states. You have to ensure that you are up-to-date with the regulatory information from the following agencies or regulations: TSCA, Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, DEA lists, and SARA 302/304, 304 RQ, 311/312 and 313 (a good resource for information on SARA is the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations). One must also be aware of state regulations for individual states such as Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and of course California Proposition 65. To ensure that you have all the required compliant information, we encourage you to seek help from a service provider like us.


We hope you now know more about HazCom 2012, and how it will affect your SDSs. KMK Regulatory Services is here to answer any questions that you may have. The transition to GHS can be a pain-free process if you have the right tools and the right partner. To make this transition easier, we at KMK decided to make each of our regulatory team-members an expert in GHS adoption standards in different regions of the world.


Blog post kindly provided by KMK Regulatory Services, Inc.