SDS and Legal Characteristics of Hazardous Substances

SDS and Legal Characteristics of Hazardous Substances

"Chemistry" Vol. 82
Tzvi Levinson, Gil Dror and Amit Efrati January 2007

Manufacturing, selling and exporting dangerous substances requires the compilation of a Safety Data Sheet. This being the main document on hazards communication it should be compatible with the requirements in different countries which contrary to popular understanding are far from being uniform. Occasionally SDSs differ even within the same country when transported from one state to another. In Israel the information contained in the Safety Data Sheets is regulated by the Safety at Work Regulations (Safety Data Sheet, Classification, Packaging and Labelling) of 1998, which are underlined by the overall aim of protecting the environment. The Israeli legal obligations are not identical with those in other jurisdictions. The requirements concerning the content of the SDS differ and thus what is considered as a properly compiled SDS in one country might be incomplete for compliance purposes in another. For instance, the level of protection afforded to commercially sensitive information is not uniform in all jurisdictions. Thus prior knowledge of national and international legislation on hazards communication can prove to be very useful as it will prepare the corporation and the employees to comply with variable obligations.

This article discusses the legal characteristics of hazardous substances in relevant environmental laws, with a comparison to environmental law in the EU legislation. A comparative examination shows that there is no identity between the European environmental law obligations and the Israeli environmental law with regard to the preparation and delivery of safety data sheets.