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Interpretation Response #02-0178 ([Environmental Resource Center] [Rebecca M. Spaulding])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Environmental Resource Center

Individual Name: Rebecca M. Spaulding

Location State: NC Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

Jul 24, 2002

Ms. Rebecca M. Spaulding                   Reference No. 02-0178
Senior Consultant
Environmental Resource Center
101 Center Pointe Drive
Cary, North Carolina 27513-5706

Dear Ms. Spaulding:

This is in response to your June 12, 2002, letter requesting clarification of the definition of "in commerce" under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180). Specifically you asked if hazardous materials transported between your company's facilities is considered "in commerce" and subject to the HMR.

Your scenario is paraphrased and answered as follows:

A company purchases consumer commodities and stores them in a warehouse.  Company employees pick up hazardous materials for use in other buildings owned by the same company.  Company employees transports this hazardous material to other buildings (along a public highway), and uses the material according to its intended purpose.  Is this considered "in commerce?"

Yes, the hazardous materials transported by your company between your facilities is in support of your business.  Therefore, transportation of hazardous material in your scenario is "in commerce." The HMR provides certain exceptions for the transportation of hazardous materials identified as Materials of Trade (MOTs).  A MOT is defined in § 171.8, as a hazardous material, other than a hazardous waste, that is carried on a motor vehicle:

  1. For the purpose of protecting the health and safety of the  motor vehicle operator or passengers;
  2. For the purpose of supporting the operation or maintenance of a motor vehicle (including its auxiliary equipment); or
  3. By a private motor carrier (including vehicles operated by a rail carrier) in direct support of a principal business that is other than transportation by motor vehicle.

Based on your scenario it appears that your company meets the third criteria.  Provided that all conditions in § 171.6 are met, your company can take advantage of the MOTs exception.

I hope this information is helpful.  Please contact us if you require additional assistance.


Delmer F. Billings
Chief, Standards Development
Office of Hazardous Materials Standards


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
171.8 Definitions and abbreviations