Safety Data Sheets (SDSs)

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200) requires chemical manufacturers, distributors, or importers to provide Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) (formerly known as Material Safety Data Sheets or MSDSs) to communicate the hazards of hazardous chemical products. These SDSs are designed to provide essential information to chemical users and emergency responders. The Hazard Communications Standard also requires that all WCMC worksites ensure that SDSs are readily accessible to all employees for each chemical.

WCM locations that utilize chemicals include laboratories, Clinical Spaces and Service Areas SDSs for these must be readily accessible to all chemical users and emergency responders at each work location. Keep in mind that any accidents involving a chemical will require a SDS being provided to emergency personnel and to the attending physician so proper treatment can be administered.

ChemWatch Safety Data Sheets

To assist the WCMC community in ensuring all students, faculty and staff have access to SDSs for the chemicals they work with, WCMC has made available campus wide access to ChemWatch, an online Safety Data Sheet database consisting of over 20 million vendor supplied documents. Using this database, you can:

  • Search for Safety Data Sheets
  • Download and print SDSs and emergency information
  • Generate and print chemical container labels

The ChemWatch database is updated regularly and includes information from most major vendors. If you cannot locate a specific SDSs for a chemical used in your work area, notify EHS of the product and manufacturer and an SDS for your chemical can be added to the database for you.

Who Can Use ChemWatch

ChemWatch is available for use to all WCM Students, Staff and Faculty with a valid CWID. Groups that would like to replace the paper copies of SDSs with ChemWatch must ensure that they are still maintaining the appropriate level of safety for all chemical users by:

  • Ensuring that SDSs for the chemicals used are available in ChemWatch. While the database contains over 20 million SDSs, there will be some chemicals or products that are not represented. Work groups need to check the inventory before removing existing SDSs and whenever purchasing new chemicals. If an SDS cannot be found for a specific chemical, it can be added by simply emailing a pdf copy of the SDS to ehs@med.cornell.edu. Note: Users must maintain the paper copy received with the new chemical shipment until receiving confirmation that the SDS has been uploaded.
  • Ensuring that all chemical users are familiar with the new electronic access system and have access to an internet connected computer at the work location. Users must also have the ability to print an SDS in an emergency to be able to present to medical personnel.

For assistance in implementing ChemWatch as your primary access to SDSs, contact your Safety Advisor or the EHS main office.

How to Access and Use ChemWatch

To access ChemWatch from any computer connected to the WCM network, you can go directly to the ChemWatch site. If you are not using a computer on the WCM network, access Chemwatch via Web VPN. If WebVPN access is needed, contact WCM ITS Support.

To learn more about using ChemWatch to find Safety Data Sheets, view the software demonstration created by EHS


Biological Safety Data Sheets

Public Health Agency of Canada - Workplace Hazardous Material Information System for Infectious Substances

Other Chemical Safety Information Sites

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ASTDR) ToxfAQs

EPA Chemical Fact Sheets

International Program on Chemical Safety
Access to internationally peer reviewed information on chemicals commonly used throughout the world.

New Jersey Hazardous Substance Fact Sheets

National Institute for Occupational Health (NIOSH)
Chemical safety information.

NIH, National Library of Medicine, TOXNET
National Library of Medicine databases on toxicology, hazardous chemicals, environmental health, and toxic releases.

Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS)
NOTE: This service is provided as a subscription service by the Cornell University Library System. All locations within Cornell (including Qatar and New York City) should have full access to this database. Contact EHS if you are affiliated with Cornell but not able to access the site.