Safety Data Sheets (SDSs)

Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) are documents that describe the physical and health hazards of chemicals or chemical-containing products and must be readily accessible to employees during all work shifts when these products are present in the work environment.

EH&S maintains a centralized library of SDSs in the online MyChem database for your use. SDSs are added to the central collection as employees inventory their chemicals in MyChem.


Updated April 8, 2024

Elemental or metallic mercury is a potent neurotoxin, even with small exposures. Avoid exposure by replacing broken thermometers and lamps, and use a spill kit to manage a spill clean-up.

Health effects of mercury

Mercury is a liquid at room temperature and readily evaporates into the air. People can be exposed if instruments or equipment containing mercury break and release mercury-containing dust, liquid or vapor. Health effects can include central nervous system disorders, reproductive effects and kidney damage.

Shipping Hazardous Materials

The U.S. Department of Transportation (US DOT) requires you be trained and certified before shipping hazardous materials. Even if someone else handles your shipment for you, you are responsible for packaging and labeling hazardous materials correctly, and providing the required documentation. Fines for non-compliance and potential legal action can occur if you are found to have willfully ignored hazardous materials shipping regulations.


Chemical Exchange

The Chemical Exchange program allows MyChem users to share unused chemical inventory to save money and reduce waste.

The Chemical Exchange allows you to search for available chemicals or chemical products in MyChem inventories, and save money and reduce waste. You can flag chemicals in your own inventory to share with others at the University. Hundreds of chemicals are waiting to be exchanged.

How to use the chemical exchange:

Chemical Hazard Communication (HazCom)

The UW is committed to providing a safe and healthy work environment for all employees, students and visitors. Individuals who work with or near hazardous substances need to be aware of the identity, potential physical and health hazards, and the safe work practices that can minimize exposure. To assure individual health and safety, and meet regulatory requirements, the UW developed the Chemical Hazard Communication (HazCom) Program to address how to classify chemical hazards, and communicate the hazards and safeguards required to protect individuals from exposure to those hazards.

Chemical Spills in Laboratories

Be prepared with proper training, cleanup supplies and personal protective equipment to manage spills easily and safely.

If you work with chemicals, you will probably have a chemical spill at some point. Your safety, and the safety of others, depends on your assessment and response.

To assess whether you and your fellow researchers are prepared to manage a chemical spill, consider these questions:


UW personnel who use chemicals or chemical-containing products at any UW owned or leased facility are required to maintain chemical inventories in MyChem, the UW’s chemical tracking system.