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Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents
• Standard Number: 1910.1200; 1910.1200(d)

May 3, 2007

Mr. Keith Klayh
Liquid Solutions Inc.
203-379 Lake Street
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada
P6B 3K9

Dear Mr. Klayh:

This is in response to your January 24, 2007, correspondence to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) Correspondence Control Unit. Your letter was transferred to OSHA's Directorate of Enforcement Programs for response. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of only the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any questions not delineated within your original correspondence. Your letter requested clarification regarding OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), 29 CFR 1910.1200. You specifically asked about requirements for developing Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) for a product that your company is considering for distribution. Your paraphrased scenario, questions, and our response are below.

Scenario: You describe a chemical product being used extensively for sawing aluminum extrusions. The product you describe is comprised of 96% to 100% of 2 ethyl hexyl 2 ethyl hexanoate and is being used as a metal working fluid (MWF). The chemical is misted onto the aluminum product being formed. The mist created from the sawing operation is filtered and then re-entrained into the work area environment. Additionally, you indicate that there are times when other people in the manufacturing and distribution of this product would handle the aluminum pieces, resulting in dermal contact with the MWF.

Question 1: What is the appropriate classification for the MSDS for the aforementioned MWF, and what precautions should be specified for people exposed to this product?

Question 2: Can we consider selling this product into the U.S. Market as a non-regulated product?

Answer: OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), 1910.1200(d) requires you, as a chemical manufacturer and/or importer, to evaluate chemicals produced in your workplace or imported by you to determine if they are hazardous. Chemical manufacturers and importers are required to review available scientific evidence concerning the hazards of the chemicals they manufacture or import and report this information on the MSDS for the product. Each chemical product must be evaluated for its potential to cause adverse health effects and its potential to pose physical hazards such as flammability, under all conditions of use, such as those detailed in your letter to us. Chemicals that are listed in one of the following sources are to be considered hazardous in all cases:
  • 29 CFR 1910, Subpart Z, Toxic and Hazardous Substances, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and
  • Threshold Limit Values for Chemical Substances and Physical Agents in the Work Environment, American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH).
In addition, chemicals that have been evaluated and found to be a suspect or confirmed carcinogen in the following sources must be reported as such:
  • National Toxicology Program (NTP), Annual Report on Carcinogens,
  • International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), Monographs, and
  • Regulated by OSHA as a carcinogen.
As the manufacturer or importer, you are required to determine whether or not the MWF you produce contains, as a baseline for your hazard determination, any of the above-mentioned chemicals covered under the HCS. Also, each MSDS generated must be in English and include information regarding the specific chemical identity of the hazardous chemical(s) involved and any common names. In addition, information must be provided on the physical and chemical characteristics of the hazardous chemical; known acute and chronic health effects and related health information; exposure limits; whether the chemical is considered to be a carcinogen by NTP, IARC, or OSHA; precautionary measures; emergency and first-aid procedures; and the identification (name, address, and telephone number) of the organization responsible for preparing the sheet.

The Hazard Communication Standard establishes uniform requirements to make sure that the hazards of all chemicals imported into, produced, or used in U.S. workplaces are evaluated and requires the manufacturer/importer to report the information they find to their employees and to employers who distribute or use their products. A copy of OSHA Publication 3084, Chemical Hazard Communication, has been included for your information and as a resource. While this document is not a specific reference to performing hazard determinations, it is an important overview of OSHA's HCS and its requirements. Draft guidance for performing chemical hazard determinations can be found at http://www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/oshacomplianceassistance.html; we believe that you will find this guidance to be helpful.

As to your second question, it is not within OSHA's purview to provide approval for a chemical manufacturer/importer wishing to sell a chemical product in the United States. OSHA's responsibilities include issuing and enforcing regulations that protect the safety and health of U.S. employees in their workplaces. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), tracks industrial chemicals currently produced or imported into the United States. Additional information regarding the EPA requirements can be found at http://www.epa.gov.

Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards, and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov.


Richard E. Fairfax, Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs

Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents

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