An SDS, or Safety Data Sheet, contains information about the hazards and safety concerns of using a specific material. For example: how to extinguish it if it catches fire, what to do if you get it in your eyes, what personal protective equipment is needed to handle it safely, etc.
When manufacturing a product from raw or processed materials, it is important to read and understand the SDS for each material being used to ensure the safety of workers, the safety and compliance of the end product, and to protect the environment from undue harm.
For additional information, check out these links:
- OSHA SDS guidelines
- MSDSonline: a searchable database of safety data sheets
- Safety data sheet on Wikipedia
Step 1: Find the SDS of a material used in an object that you interact with regularly. For example: the rubber in your shoes, the nalgene plastic of your water bottle, or the teflon coating of a non-stick pan.
Step 2: Take note of two interesting pieces of information in the SDS that you didn’t expect to find. Is the material highly flammable? Is it toxic to fish? Is it normally colorless?
Step 3: In groups of 4-5, share one or both of your interesting pieces of information with the group.
Step 4: With your group, invent a fake product that uses all of the materials your group members researched. Write down the name of the product, a brief description, the precautions you will need to take when manufacturing the product from the raw materials, and any environmental or health concerns when using or disposing of the product.
Step 5: Each group presents their fake product to the class and describes the necessary manufacturing precautions and environmental and health concerns. Make sure to reference what was found in the SDS’s!