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Steps toward DHS chemical facility anti-terrorism standard compliance


Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released the final DHS Chemicals of Interest Appendix A to the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism standards. Whereas Appendix A was released on Nov. 2, it did not go into effect until it was published in the Federal Register on November 20, 2007 (FR# 223). This means the 60-day deadline to complete DHS's 'Top Screen' did not begin until this FR publication date.

Major changes to the final version of Appendix A are detailed below.

  • Mixtures - The issue of mixtures was resolved. The list contains maximum concentration percentages, commercial grade designation or a placarded amount. Many are set at a minimum concentration of 1 percent, so MSDSs for commercial products will have to be checked.
  • Any amount - The designation of 'any amount' has been replaced by actual amounts.
  • Screening Threshold Quantities (STQ) - STQs have increased for many compounds.
  • Propane - The STQ for propane is 60,000 pounds (not counting propane in containers of 10,000 pounds or less) where it had been 7,500 pounds on the originally proposed list.
  • No longer on the list - Carbon monoxide, acetone and urea are no longer listed.

Step 1

The initial step to comply with the new DHS regulation is registration, which is completed online. At the end of the registration, the submitter will learn if proceeding to the Top Screen will be required. If not, the submitter is done after the registration is complete. Upon completion of Top Screen, DHS will let the facility know within 30 days if it is a Tier 1, 2, 3, or 4 level facility.

Step 2

Top Screen Reporting using MSDSpro's Built-In DHS Chemicals of Interest Reporting Tools

  • MSDSpro v5.0 includes built-in DHS Chemicals of Interest Reporting Tools at no additional charge!
  • Downloadable list of DHS Appendix A Chemicals
  • Run DHS Chemicals of Interest summary report by location and/or facility for any products and quantities containing Appendix A Chemicals
  • Track and maintain DHS Chemicals of Interest quantities for establishing reporting thresholds
  • Print DHS Chemicals of Interest summary report
  • Export DHS Chemicals of Interest summary report in spreadsheet format (CSV or tab-delimited) Additional Integration


  • Ability to integrate purchasing or inventory information into MSDSpro to evaluate whether chemicals have exceeded the newly published STQs
  • Track, maintain & update chemical inventories across your company in real-time with MSDSpro's Web Inventory Manager (WIM)

The Top Screen is divided into the following chemical categories:

  • Release of Toxins
  • Release of Flammables
  • Release of Explosives
  • Theft/Diversion of IED Precursor Chemicals
  • Theft/Diversion of Weapons of Mass Effect (WME)Theft/Diversion of Chemical Weapons/Chemical Weapon
  • Precursors, and Sabotage/Contamination Chemicals (e.g., things that can react with water to produce hydrogen cyanides).

Note: there maybe different STQs for different categories.

Another category is 'Mission Critical' chemicals, which do not appear in a list. These chemical are tied to manufacturers responsible for production of 20% or more of any one chemical necessary for one or more critical infrastructure sector (defense, energy, public health, public water) and will require a facility to make a 'best estimate' to determine if it falls in this category. DHS wants to know where the bottlenecks exist in the system that could affect its ability to protect the country.

Top Screen links each chemical name to information about how to count that chemical and that basis for the chemical's listing. All amounts have to be counted when determining threshold quantities � in tanks, vessels, pipes, trucks parked in driveways, etc. Any amount 'possessed' at any time for the previous 12 months must be counted.

Each facility will need to determine how the definition of 'facility' applies to it and DHS will either agree or disagree with the submitter. DHS advises to define a facility as it is managed under each corporation. There may be penalties if an owner/operator attempts to break up a facility to avoid 'possessing' threshold quantities of Appendix A chemicals.

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