Under the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard and the Delaware Hazardous Chemical Information Act (Delaware "Worker Right-to-Know"), facilities are required to prepare or maintain Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) for hazardous chemicals at their sites. These MSDSs must be made available to employees so they will know the chemical hazards they are exposed to and can take necessary precautions in handling the substances. MSDSs provide important information about chemicals, including information on physical properties and health hazards.
The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) extends this "Worker Right-to-Know" approach to "Community Right-to-Know". EPCRA provides the general public an avenue for obtaining MSDSs from facilities.
Under EPCRA, facilities are required to submit MSDSs or a list of MSDS chemicals for those substances used or stored at the site above specified threshold amounts. If the facility chooses to submit a list of MSDS chemicals, the list must include the chemical or common name of each substance and must identify the applicable hazard categories. After the initial submission of MSDSs or an MSDS chemical list, updates are required within 3 months of a new substance being brought on site above the threshold amount, or when the quantity of an existing substance first exceeds the threshold. If MSDSs have been submitted, a revised MSDS must be provided to update the original MSDS within 3 months if significant new information is discovered about the hazardous chemical.
Threshold amounts that trigger reporting are based on the maximum amount of the substance present at the site at any time. For substances identified as Hazardous Chemicals (defined basically as any chemical that could pose a physical or health hazard), the threshold amount is 55 gallons or 500 pounds (Note: the federal threshold for Hazardous Chemicals is 10,000 pounds, but Delaware has established a lower threshold). For substances identified on the Federal EPCRA list of Extremely Hazardous Substances (EHSs), the threshold amount is 55 gallons, 500 pounds or the threshold planning quantity, whichever is lower.
MSDSs and MSDS chemical lists submitted under EPCRA are available to the general public. Over 1300 facilities throughout Delaware have reported chemicals on-site under this requirement. However, most reporting has been accomplished through submission of MSDS chemical lists. As such, MSDSs are not immediately available for most chemicals at facilities. To facilitate public access to MSDS information, this search option provides a link to Internet web sites that provide access to a variety of chemical information, including MSDSs.
If you can not locate an MSDS for a specific chemical, you may request an MSDS with respect to a particular facility through the Delaware EPCRA Reporting Program. If the MSDS is not on file, submission of the MSDS from the facility can be requested. To submit an MSDS request to the Delaware EPCRA Reporting Program "Click Here".
The Hazardous Chemical Inventory (Tier II) reporting requirements are similar to the MSDS reporting requirements, except the Tier II reports are an annual requirement and include more detailed information.
It is important to note that there are several exemptions to both the OSHA MSDS requirements and the EPCRA reporting requirements. Therefore, when you examine a list of substances provided by a facility, not every hazardous chemical present at the site will be identified on the list. Examples of the exemptions include consumer products (products packaged as for distribution and use by the general public) and substances regulated under other federal laws, such as hazardous waste.
If you have any questions or would like additional information concerning MSDS reporting under EPCRA, contact the Delaware EPCRA Reporting Program