How To Cite A Safety Data Sheet

Now You Know

When working with hazardous chemicals, it is crucial to have access to Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for proper handling and emergency response. SDS provide detailed information about the composition, hazards, and precautions associated with a particular substance.

But how do you cite a Safety Data Sheet? Whether you are a student writing a research paper or a professional in the field, understanding the correct way to cite an SDS is important to ensure accurate referencing and compliance with scholarly standards.

In this article, we will guide you through the process of citing a Safety Data Sheet. We will cover the essential information to include, the formatting style to use, and provide examples for different citation styles. By the end, you will have a clear understanding of how to properly cite an SDS in your academic or professional work.

Inside This Article

  1. Safety Data Sheet (SDS) Overview
  2. Importance of Citing Safety Data Sheets
  3. Proper Formatting for Citing Safety Data Sheets
  4. Examples of Citations for Safety Data Sheets
  5. Conclusion
  6. FAQs

Safety Data Sheet (SDS) Overview

A Safety Data Sheet (SDS) is a document that provides detailed information about the hazards and safety precautions associated with a particular substance or product. It is an essential tool for ensuring the safety and well-being of workers, as well as complying with regulations and guidelines.

The purpose of an SDS is to communicate vital information about the physical, chemical, and toxicological properties of a substance, as well as its potential hazards and appropriate handling procedures. These sheets are typically created by the manufacturer or supplier and must be made readily available to users in workplaces where the substance is present.

An SDS contains important sections that cover various aspects of the substance. These sections usually include:

  • Identification: This section provides details about the product, including its name, manufacturer information, and recommended uses.
  • Hazard Identification: Here, the potential hazards associated with the substance are described, including information on the risks of exposure and any required precautionary measures.
  • Composition and Information on Ingredients: This section lists the specific components and their concentration in the product, highlighting any hazardous substances.
  • First Aid Measures: In this section, guidance is provided on the appropriate steps to take in case of exposure or accidental ingestion, including emergency contact information.
  • Firefighting Measures: Here, information on appropriate fire-fighting techniques and equipment is provided.
  • Accidental Release Measures: This section outlines procedures to be followed in the event of a spill or release, including containment and clean-up measures.
  • Handling and Storage: Guidance is given on safe handling practices and recommended storage conditions for the substance.
  • Exposure Controls/Personal Protection: This section provides information on recommended personal protective equipment (PPE) and exposure limits for the substance.
  • Physical and Chemical Properties: Important physical and chemical characteristics of the substance are detailed here, including its appearance, odor, and stability.
  • Stability and Reactivity: Information on the stability and potential reactivity of the substance, including incompatible materials, is provided in this section.
  • Disposal Considerations: Guidance on proper disposal methods for the substance is given here, in accordance with applicable regulations.
  • Transport Information: This section outlines any specific requirements for transportation or shipping of the substance.
  • Regulatory Information: Here, relevant regulatory information and any associated compliance requirements are provided.

Importance of Citing Safety Data Sheets

Safety Data Sheets (SDS) are important documents that provide crucial information about hazardous substances and how to handle them safely. Citing SDS is equally important as it ensures compliance with regulatory requirements and promotes the overall safety and well-being of workers, the environment, and the general public.

Here are some key reasons why citing safety data sheets is of utmost importance:

  1. Accurate Hazard Identification: Citing SDS helps in accurately identifying the hazards associated with different chemicals or substances. These hazardous substances can include toxic chemicals, flammable materials, or materials that can cause physical harm. By citing the SDS, workers and users can understand the potential risks and take the necessary precautions to minimize accidents and prevent harm.
  2. Emergency Response Preparedness: Safety data sheets provide essential information about the appropriate measures to be taken in case of an emergency, such as a spill or exposure to hazardous materials. By citing SDS, emergency responders can quickly access the necessary information about the chemical composition, potential hazards, and recommended safety procedures. This allows them to respond effectively and efficiently, minimizing the potential impact of the incident.
  3. Compliance with Regulatory Standards: Citing SDS is a legal requirement in many jurisdictions. Regulatory agencies require accurate and up-to-date citations of safety data sheets to ensure that businesses and organizations are operating in compliance with safety regulations and guidelines. Failure to cite SDS can result in penalties, fines, or even legal consequences.
  4. Promotes Worker Safety: By citing safety data sheets, employers and supervisors can provide essential information to workers regarding the potential hazards and safe handling practices for specific chemicals or substances. This enables employees to take the necessary precautions and use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when working with hazardous materials. Overall, it helps create a safer work environment and reduces the risk of accidents and injuries.
  5. Environmental Protection: Citing SDS is not just about protecting human health but also the environment. Safety data sheets contain information about the chemical’s impact on the environment, including proper disposal methods and potential ecological risks. By citing SDS, individuals can take appropriate measures to prevent the release of hazardous substances into the environment and minimize the environmental impact.

Proper Formatting for Citing Safety Data Sheets

When it comes to citing Safety Data Sheets (SDS), it is important to follow a specific format to ensure accuracy and consistency. By properly formatting your citations, you can provide the necessary information for others to locate and reference the SDS you are citing. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind:

1. Include the title: Start your citation by including the title of the Safety Data Sheet. This should be written in sentence case and enclosed in quotation marks. For example, “Acme Corporation Product Safety Data Sheet.”

2. Specify the version number: If there are multiple versions of the Safety Data Sheet available, include the version number in your citation. This helps to differentiate between different iterations of the document. For instance, “Version 2” or “Revised 2019.”

3. Provide the manufacturer or distributor: It is crucial to include the name of the manufacturer or distributor of the product for which the SDS has been issued. This information helps in identifying the source and ensures accuracy in referencing. For example, “Published by Acme Corporation.”

4. Mention the publication date: Include the date on which the Safety Data Sheet was published or last revised. This information allows others to track the currency of the document. For instance, “Published on June 15, 2020.”

5. Specify the URL or database: If the Safety Data Sheet is available online, include the URL or the name of the database where it can be accessed. This provides a direct link for others to retrieve the document. For example, “Retrieved from” or “Accessed via SDS Online Database.”

6. Include retrieval date (if applicable): If the Safety Data Sheet was accessed online and the content is subject to change, it is important to include the date on which you accessed the document. This ensures that others can verify the information based on the specific version you accessed. For example, “Accessed on July 1, 2021.”

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your citations for Safety Data Sheets are properly formatted and provide all the necessary information for others to locate and reference the documents. Consistency in citation style is essential for accuracy and ease of use. Remember to double-check your citations to ensure that they adhere to any specific citation guidelines provided by your institution or organization.

Examples of Citations for Safety Data Sheets

When citing a Safety Data Sheet (SDS), it is important to follow the proper formatting guidelines to ensure accuracy and consistency. Here are a few examples of how you can cite an SDS in different formats:

1. American Chemical Society (ACS) Format:
In ACS format, you would typically include the author, title, source, and date of the SDS. For example:

Author(s). “Title of Safety Data Sheet.” Source, Date.

2. Modern Language Association (MLA) Format:
In MLA format, the citation would include the author, title, source, and publication date. Here is an example:

Author(s). “Title of Safety Data Sheet.” Source, Publication Date.

3. American Psychological Association (APA) Format:
In APA format, you would include the author, date of publication, title, and source of the SDS. Here’s an example of an APA citation for an SDS:

Author(s) (Year). Title of Safety Data Sheet. Source.

4. Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) Format:
In CMS format, the citation would typically include the author, title, source, and publication date. Here’s an example:

Author(s). “Title of Safety Data Sheet.” Source (Publication Date).

5. Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Format:
In IEEE format, the citation would include the author, title, source, and publication year. Here’s an example:

Author(s), “Title of Safety Data Sheet,” Source, Year.

6. Vancouver System:
In the Vancouver system, the citation would typically include a number assigned to the reference, the title of the SDS, and the source. Here’s an example:

[Number] Title of Safety Data Sheet. Source.

Remember, the specific format and style may vary depending on your field of study or the guidelines provided by your institution. It’s important to consult the appropriate style guide or your instructor for the correct citation format.


In conclusion, knowing how to cite a safety data sheet is critically important for maintaining a safe and compliant work environment. By properly citing the SDS, you ensure that accurate and up-to-date information is readily available to everyone who needs it. This not only promotes safety but also helps organizations meet regulatory requirements. Remember to include the necessary information such as the chemical name, manufacturer, and version number when citing an SDS. Additionally, utilize proper formatting and citation styles to ensure consistency and clarity. By following these guidelines, you can confidently navigate the world of safety data sheets and contribute to a safer workplace for all. Stay proactive and informed, and always prioritize the safety of yourself and those around you.


1. Can you explain what a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) is?
A Safety Data Sheet (SDS), formerly known as a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), is a document that provides important information about the potential hazards and handling precautions for a specific chemical or product. It includes details about the composition, physical and chemical properties, health and environmental hazards, safe storage and disposal procedures, emergency response measures, and regulatory information.

2. Why is it important to cite a Safety Data Sheet?
Citing a Safety Data Sheet is essential for several reasons. Firstly, it helps to ensure compliance with regulations and standards set by authorities such as OSHA, EPA, and other regulatory bodies. Secondly, citing the SDS provides a reliable reference for others who need to access the information, such as researchers, safety professionals, and emergency responders. Lastly, it promotes transparency and accountability by documenting the sources of information and allowing for easy verification in case of any disputes or inquiries.

3. How should a Safety Data Sheet be cited?
When citing a Safety Data Sheet, it is crucial to follow a consistent and recognized citation style such as those used in scientific journals or institutions. Typically, the basic format includes the chemical or product name, the manufacturer or supplier, the SDS identification number, and the date of access. Additionally, it is recommended to provide the complete web address or database source where the SDS can be located.

4. Are there specific guidelines for citing a Safety Data Sheet in academic papers or publications?
While there may not be universally standardized guidelines for citing SDS in academic papers or publications, it is important to consult the specific citation style provided by the target journal or institution. Certain citation styles, such as the American Chemical Society (ACS) style, provide rules and examples for citing technical reports, which may include Safety Data Sheets. Following the designated citation style ensures consistency and adherence to the established norms within that field.

5. Is it necessary to update the citation if a new version of the Safety Data Sheet is released?
Yes, it is important to update the citation if a new version of the Safety Data Sheet becomes available. As new information, revisions, or clarifications may be added to the updated SDS, referencing the most current version ensures that the most accurate and up-to-date information is being cited. It is recommended to periodically review the cited SDS and update the citation whenever necessary to maintain the accuracy and relevancy of the information referenced.