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Interpretation Response #02-0121 ([Thomas J. Leech, III])

Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name:

Individual Name: Thomas J. Leech, III

Location State: MS Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

Jul 3, 2002

Mr. Thomas J. Leech, III                    Reference No. 02-0121

Environmental Consultant

3720 Plum Point Drive E

Olive Branch, MS 38654-8000

Dear Mr. Leech:

This responds to your April 16, 2002 letter requesting clarification on the appropriate test method under § 173.120 of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180). Specifically, you ask which test method must be used to determine if a material sustains combustion when reclassifying a flammable liquid as a combustible liquid under § 173.120.

According to your letter a flammable liquid was tested using both the ASTM 4206 test method and Appendix H test method.  The results of the testing indicated that the liquid did not sustain combustion using the ASTM 4206 test method and did sustain combustion using the Appendix H test method.  The Appendix H test method requires that the material be tested at approximately 20 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the ASTM 4206 test method.  It is your understanding that § 173.120(b)(3) appears to allow for either test method to be used in determining if a material sustains combustion.  You ask if you may use either test method even when different results are obtained from the two test methods.

Your understanding of § 173.120(b)(3) of the HMR is correct.  You may use either test method in determining if a material sustains combustion.  And it is the shipper's responsibility to properly class, describe, and package hazardous material for shipment.  Regarding the different test results you obtained, you did not provide enough information in your letter, e.g., the material safety data sheet and applicable test data on the material in question, for us to provide you with a more; specific response from this Office.

I hope this answers your inquiry.


Delmer F. Billings

Chief, Standards Development

Office of Hazardous Materials Standards


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.120 Class 3-Definitions