We often receive requests for Material Safety Data Sheets (now called Safety Data Sheets) for parts that would never need one. The abbreviation MSDS is often confused with a different kind of documentation called a Material Declaration Sheet (MDS).
A material safety data sheet is a required document for hazardous chemicals due to OSHA regulations. If something does not have an MSDS sheet that would normally require one, the manufacturer could get into legal trouble. However, OSHA does not require manufacturers or distributors to redistribute that documentation.
A material declaration sheet is an optional document that states a list of materials (chemicals, metals, plastics, alloys, etc…) for a specific part. Most manufacturers have these documents available at request, but the documentation isn’t required by definition as it doesn’t apply in an OSHA context.
What Requires an MSDS Then?
According to the OSHA document 29 CFR 1910.1200 in paragraph (g), the documentation “must be developed for hazardous chemicals used in the workplace, and must list the chemicals that are found in a product in quantities of 1% or greater, or 0.1% or greater if the chemical is a carcinogen. An MSDS does not require the amount of the hazardous chemical to be stated.” In the same document, it states that any hazardous chemical is defined as something that is a health hazard and a physical hazard. It must be significantly tested to be considered hazardous to the human body or physical environment. (I.E. chemical burns, carcinogenic presence, explosion, high flammability, poison, toxic fumes, oxidizer, peroxide, reactive, cause irritation, etc…)
It would make sense that items in the following list may have an MSDS (there are more):
- Larger Batteries or Batteries With Certain Chemicals
- Large Quantities of Leaded Solder
- Isopropyl Alchohol
- Any Kind of Electronic Cleaner
- Potting Material
- Small Amounts of Leaded Solder
- Small Batteries (this is can be a gray area, best to always ask in case of batteries)
Here are the references to the OSHA standards mentioned from OSHA.gov:
These are pretty hard to read through, so my post is a summary and interpretation to help guide those asking for MSDS info. There are more references online to help with this issue if there are further questions.
Where Do I Obtain an MSDS?
Any part that should obviously have this type of documentation will link that file on the associated part page. If you ever feel a part like a battery or chemical should have one and we don’t list it, please ask us for it. It is best to contact our department, Applications Engineering, to fix that issue. You can also probably find an MSDS on a manufacturer’s website in most cases.
Where Do I Obtain an MDS?
Material declaration sheets are not typically linked on a Digi-Key part page because these files are optional and only needed in certain circumstances by customers. The best method I’ve seen for getting this documentation is contacting Environmental@digikey.com . These documents are not as readily available, so finding that information on manufacturer’s websites can be a challenge from what I’ve seen. Environmental does not deal with MSDS requests as they are entirely different documents.