Decoding SDS Series Section 12: Ecological Information

The effects a chemical can have on the environment is an essential piece of information addressed in Section 12 of the Safety Data Sheet. While Section 11 focuses on toxicological information affecting human bodies, Section 12 addresses ecological and environmental effects on a broader scale.

If available, data from toxicity tests performed on aquatic or terrestrial organisms must be provided. This includes both acute and chronic toxicity data. Fish, algae, crustaceans, and plants are all examples of aquatic life these tests may be performed on. Terrestrial wildlife includes birds, bees, and plants. A simple statement as to whether the chemical is toxic or not suffices, but it must include what type of wildlife it is toxic to. An example of a statement that complies is “toxic to aquatic life.”

The chemical’s persistence and degradability must also be noted in Section 12. This may be through biodegradation, oxidation, or hydrolysis processes. For example, if the chemical has any sort of degradability process it would be noted as “readily biodegradable.”

Additionally, bioaccumulation results are also encompassed in Section 12. The octanol-water partition coefficient (Kow) and bioconcentration factor (BCF) are tests used to determine the bioaccumulation.

Any other adverse ecological effects the component may cause should also be listed in Section 12. These include, but are not limited to, ozone layer depletion, endocrine disruption, photochemical ozone creation, and global warming potentials. Even if these effects are not expected, this must be explicitly stated.

Environmental and ecological effects are paramount when looking at the composition of a chemical. If a chemical is found to be hazardous to the environment, handling, storing, and disposing methods need to be carried out closely and methodically.

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