Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents
• Standard Number: 1910.1200(c); 1910.1200(d)(4)

November 1, 1999

Ms. Michele Sabulsky
HSE Associate
813 Frederick Road
Baltimore, Maryland 21228

Dear Ms. Sabulsky:

Thank you for your letter of August 17, 1999 to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regarding the carcinogenicity of silica and its classification on Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) for gaskets. Your question has been referred to the Directorate of Compliance Programs for response.

OSHA does not make hazard determinations on a case-by-case basis, since it is the manufacturer who is most familiar with a product's composition, its intended uses, and the potential downstream exposures. We are not generally involved in the hazard determination process until it is brought to our attention that the manufacturer's MSDS may be incomplete or inadequate.

Your letter seems to ask whether or not the gaskets your company produces are an "article" under the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). Articles do not present a hazardous exposure to employees and are exempt from coverage under the standard. Hopefully, the following guidance will be of assistance to you in making the determination of whether your product is an "article" or a "hazardous chemical."

A hazardous chemical is any chemical which is a health hazard or a physical hazard. Crystalline silica is considered a Group 1 carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). According to the HCS, any hazardous chemical determined to be a carcinogen by IARC, the National Toxicology Program (NTP), or regulated as a carcinogen by OSHA is considered a carcinogen for the purposes of the HCS and must be designated as such on the MSDS. Crystalline silica is clearly a hazardous chemical.