Nano Safety Data Sheet Improvement Tool

Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) are a crucial part of helping construction workers and employers understand risks from products they use. Currently, the SDSs for many nanomaterial-containing products are not as effective as they should be in conveying this information. This tool is designed to help manufacturers, distributors, and importers of these products evaluate their SDSs and improve them.

Evaluate your SDS


You will answer a series of questions to evaluate your SDS and generate a report with recommendations to strengthen your safety data sheet (SDS). The report is organized around the 16 SDS sections required by OSHA that follow GHS specifications. The evaluation and recommendations are based upon good industrial hygiene practice, research findings cited below, and guidance from OSHA and ISO. You do not need to answer every question but you will only receive recommendations based on the answers you provide.

Manufactured nanomaterials – extremely small particles that can produce benefits in a wide range of materials – are increasingly found in a variety of products used in construction. CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training has identified over 800 such products, primarily paints, coatings, and sealants, but also concrete, roofing materials, flooring, lubricants, and other materials. When construction workers use these materials, they can be exposed to dust, fumes, gases, and vapors containing manufactured nanomaterials. Some nanomaterials are toxic to laboratory animals, and many have not been tested, so the risk from exposure to them is unknown. Although this tool focuses on manufactured nanomaterials, which may have unusual physical properties that affect their toxicity, users may find this tool useful to evaluate SDSs for other small-particle dusts (such as nanoscale and respirable dusts) used or generated during work operations that also present health hazards to exposed workers.

Construction workers and their employers have a legal right to know if the products they are using contain chemical hazards so that they can take appropriate precautions to mitigate risk. SDSs for these products should clearly identify the nanomaterial(s) present and provide information on potential safety and health risks, as well as measures to protect people who may be exposed. However, recent studies have shown that for many of these products, their SDSs do not provide specific information on the nanomaterials present – and some do not even mention that the product contains nanomaterials.

CDC researchers reported in 2012 that “important information is not being developed or included on current nanomaterial [material safety data sheets] MSDSs”. A follow-up study in 2019 found that only 3% of the nanomaterial SDSs evaluated were satisfactory and that 79% needed significant improvement. Studies conducted in Australia and Korea have also highlighted serious problems with nanomaterial SDSs.

You do not need to register to use the Nano-SDS Tool; however, if you create an account, you can save your work to retrieve, edit, or delete it later. Your account will be confidential; CPWR will not have access to this information and the identity of your company and product will remain confidential. You will find it helpful to provide the information that appears at the start of the tool: it will appear on the evaluation report, making it easier for you to identify a specific SDS if more than one SDS is being evaluated. 

1. Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS)
Eighth revised edition: 
2. World Health Organization guidelines on protecting workers from potential risks of manufactured nanomaterials: 
3. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development: 
4. ISO/TR 13329:2012 Nanomaterials — Preparation of material safety data sheet (MSDS): 
5. ISO/TR 12885:2018 Nanotechnologies — Health and safety practices in occupational settings: 
6. US National Nanotechnology Initiative: 
7. US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH): 
8. US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): 
9. US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS): 
10. Society for Chemical Hazard Communication SDS and Label Authoring Registry: 
11. American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) Nanomaterial Stewardship Fact Sheet: 
12. The GoodNanoGuide: 
13. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Control Banding Resources: 
14. European Chemicals Agency: 
15. European Union Observatory for Nanomaterials: 
16. EU-funded caLIBRAte Nano Risk Governance Portal: 
17. eNanoMapper (ENM) proposes a computational infrastructure for toxicological data management of engineered nanomaterials: 
18. The Stoffenmanager Nano Module: 
19. Hodson, Eastlake, and Herbers (2019). An evaluation of engineered nanomaterial safety data sheets for safety and health information post implementation of the revised hazard communication standard: 
20. Lee et al (2013). Evaluation of information in nanomaterial safety data sheets and development of international standard for guidance on preparation of nanomaterial safety data sheets: 
21. Safe Work Australia (2010). An Evaluation of MSDS and Labels associated with the
use of Engineered Nanomaterials: 
22. Laux et al (2018). Nanomaterials: certain aspects of application, risk assessment and risk communication: