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printreg, April, 2003
"Trade Secret Chemicals Listed on MSDS"

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From: Debra Jacobson (djacobson@istc.illinois.edu)
Date: Thu, 10 Apr 2003 07:21:47

The following is a summary of OSHA's standard on trade secret chemical ingredients listed on MSDS. Note EPA may consider these chemicals to be a hazardous air pollutant, volatile organic material or a RCRA hazardous material and additional information due to EPA requirements may need to be obtained from the supplier in order for users to be in compliance with EPA regulations. This summary only covers OSHA's requirements about trade secret chemical information.
Debra Jacobson


What if an MSDS lists the chemical identities as a trade secret?

According to 29 CFR 1910.1200 (i), a manufacturer or distributor can withhold the specific chemical identity provided they can substantiate the need for such action. The MSDS must, however, indicate the physical and health hazards as well as the properties of the chemical used and that the identity is regarded as a trade secret.

In the event that a physician or nurse has an emergency situation involving a trade secret chemical and conveys the need for the chemical identity, the supplier with knowledge of the identity must divulge the information without requiring a written confidentiality agreement at that time. The chemical supplier may follow up by requesting such confidentiality agreements at a later time.

For non-emergency situations, the health professional must request in writing the specific identity of a trade secret chemical, with all required information as detailed in 29 CFR 1910.1200(i)(3)(i-v). The supplier or distributor may then supply the information as requested, with additional conditions, or reject the request in writing. If a trade secret identity request is denied, the health professional may make the request to OSHA, which will determine if the request or the trade secret claim is supported and whether the trade secret can be protected if divulged. In any event, the final decision at this point will be OSHA's to make.

To access 29 CFR 1910.1200(i)(3)(i-v) on-line, visit http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/cfr-retrieve.html#page1

Source: "reg of the day" listserv operated by Tammy Silverthorne @ the Environmental Resource Center

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