Requirement for Exporting to Mexico: The MSDS Sheet

An Expert's View about Chemicals in Mexico

Posted on: 30 Dec 2011

Hazardous substances, materials and wastes represent a risk to humans and the environment, making it necessary to immediately know the risks associated with them. Due to that, it is mandatory to have a standardized methods and procedures to inform, control and mitigate the consequences in the event of an incident during the transportation and handling of these types of materials.
The Material Safety Data Sheet, known by the acronym MSDS, contains specific information about chemical products and the way they must be handled. The MSDS could be one of the key documents when U.S. companies are exporting to Mexico. In Mexico, the Material Safety Data Sheet MSDS is known in Spanish as Hoja de Datos de Seguridad / HDS.
In this report you will learn about the MSDS and how to comply with the information contained in this document in the process of exporting your products to Mexico.

What is a Material Safety Data Sheet - MSDS?
A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS): is the document that contains caution and emergency information for the transportation of hazardous substances, hazardous materials, and waste, which describes the actions to take in case of incidents or accidents (leaks, spills, explosions, fires, exhibitions etc.). It also provides information for the use, storage, handling and cautions procedures such as emergency actions and emergency contacts in case of an accident. Every carrier unit has to have during the transport of substances materials and wastes.
An MSDS is going to be required when shipping any merchandise that is classified as hazardous and in the majority of the cases in Mexico, the MSDS is requested for products of difficult identification such as powders, pills, and liquids among others.

What it’s the purpose of the MSDS?
The purpose of the MSDS is to inform the user/reader about:
1. The contact information of the manufacturer.
2. Hazardous ingredients/ Identity information.
3. The Physical & Chemical Characteristics of the material.
4. Fire and explosion hazard data.
5. Reactivity data.
6. Health hazard data
7. Precautions for safe handling and use
8. Control measures / How to react in case of an accident.
The security behind the transportation and handling of chemicals and hazardous materials is very important. The Hazard Communication Standard requires employers to maintain an inventory of hazardous materials on the site. This will provide training to employees about potential cautions associated with each material. The MSDS has to be available at the site, have all the appropriate labels, and inform organization management regarding the dangers to which employees may be exposed in their work area.

Who and When is request the MSDS?
The MSDS for customs clearance purposes is employed to classify the material / products sent by the U.S. exporter; this document provides the composition of the product which is necessary to assign the "rate code." Also the MSDS is very useful to make the appropriate classification of the product before entering Mexico, when the Customs Brokers is assigning the harmonized code (HS Code).
In spite of the fact that this document is not officially required to be presented to the Mexican Customs desk during the process of the importation, any professional Mexican Customs Broker can request the MSDS to make the correct classification of the products. If there are any mistakes in the classification, there will be action taken against the Mexican Custom Broker. In addition, it’s very important for the Mexican importer to keep MSDS records in file, because the authorities may request them.

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Posted: 30 December 2011

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