USA Banner

Official US Government Icon

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure Site Icon

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Interpretation Response #05-0156 ([CheckPoint Mailers Incorporated] [Ms. Sherry Anderson])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: CheckPoint Mailers Incorporated

Individual Name: Ms. Sherry Anderson

Location State: NC Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

Aug 15, 2005


Ms. Sherry Anderson                      Reference No. 05-0156
Vice President
CheckPoint Mailers Incorporated
P.O. Box 389
Kernersville, NC 27285

Dear Ms. Anderson,

This responds to your June 29, 2005 letter requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) as they apply to the transportation of lighters. Specifically, you ask about transportation requirements for lighters that are drained or emptied of flammable gas or flammable liquid prior to transportation. Your letter describes the procedure you employ to empty and package lighters for transportation.

Lighters that have been cleaned of residue and purged of vapors to remove any potential hazard are excepted from the requirements of the HMR (see § 173.29(b)(2)(ii)). The HMR do not provide a procedure for cleaning and purging lighters of flammable residue and vapors. The procedure your company uses to empty lighters requires employees to release the fuel through a valve located on the bottom of the lighter. The procedure outlined in your letter does not include an effective method of purging the lighters of flammable vapors. In order to transport the lighters as a non-hazardous material, your company must use a procedure that purges the lighters of all flammable vapors (e.g., running an air stream through the fuel reservoir for a sufficient time to remove all traces of fuel).

Lighters that are not cleaned of residue and purged of vapors must be shipped in accordance with the applicable requirements of the HMR. Under the HMR, a lighter and its inner packaging must be approved for transportation by the Associate Administrator for Hazardous Materials Safety (see § 173.21(i)). Additional packaging and marking requirements for lighters are specified in § 173.308.

Your letter indicates that you ship a substantial number of lighters by mail. The HMR do not apply to any matter subject to the postal laws and regulations of the United States (see § 171.1(d)(7)). Therefore, lighters transported by the United States Postal Service are not subject to the HMR. You should contact the United States Postal Service directly concerning requirements for shipping lighters by mail.

You may be interested in a notice of proposed rulemaking, published on August 16, 2004 (Docket No. PHMSA-2004-18795; HM-237), proposing to amend the requirements of the HMR applicable to lighters and lighter refills. The notice is available at:

I hope this information is helpful.



John A. Gale
Chief, Standards Development
Office of Hazardous Materials Standards

173.21(i), 173.308

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.21 Forbidden materials and packages
173.308 Lighters