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Interpretation Response #05-0208 ([American Pyrotechnics Association] [Ms. Julie L. Heckman])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: American Pyrotechnics Association

Individual Name: Ms. Julie L. Heckman

Location State: MD Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

Apr 19, 2006

 

Ms. Julie L. Heckman                         Reference No. 05-0208
Executive Director
American Pyrotechnics Association
P.O. Box 30438
Bethesda, MD 20824

Dear Ms. Heckman:

This is in response to your letter dated September 7, 2005, regarding the description of hazardous materials on shipping papers required under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180). Specifically, you ask whether an interpretation could be provided allowing the quantity shown on a shipping paper for an explosive article, such as fireworks, to be expressed in terms of a percentage of the gross weight of the product being shipped.

In your letter you described the following:

The fireworks industry generally does not use the measure of net explosive mass. Because compatible assortments of fireworks are packaged in a single packaging for a typical display, companies generally use the gross weight of the product being shipped. It is extremely difficult for the fireworks industry to determine net explosive mass. Similarly, it is very difficult for companies to determine the net explosive mass in a product. For this reason, the American Pyrotechnics Association (APA) petitioned the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco & Firearms (ATF) who issued a memorandum for determining the weight of explosive materials in display shells and cakes. The memorandum states that, for Division 1.3G aerial display shells, the weight of explosive materials should be calculated as 50 percent of the total weight of the completed firework and for fireworks items such as cakes the weight of explosive materials should be calculated as 25 percent of the total weight of the completed firework.

The answer is no. As provided in § 1 72.202(a)(5)(i), for an explosive article the quantity shown on a shipping paper may be expressed in terms of the net mass of the article or the net mass of the explosive substances in the article. Changing this requirement in the way requested would require a regulatory change or Special Permit rather than an interpretation. Further, we believe the option allowing an individual to express the quantity on a shipping paper for an explosive article in terms of the net mass of the article or the net mass of the explosive substances in the article provides flexibility to the regulated community and has worked well for transportation. It allows a conservative estimate of explosive mass unless the more precise quantity of net mass of explosive substances, which is available from the explosives approval process, is provided.
Based on our review of the ATF memorandum, it is the opinion of this office that expressing the quantity shown on a shipping paper for an explosive article in terms of a percentage of the gross weight of the product shipped could pose certain risks during transportation that do not exist during storage. For example, this methodology has the potential of underestimating the actual hazard of the article because estimates rather than known quantities are used for net mass of explosive substances. Such errors may be more critical in transportation where exposure to hazards is greater, with resultant increased risk to the public, transportation workers, or emergency response personnel. Any petition for rulemaking or request for Special Permit should address these issues and provide sufficient rationale for the change to or deviation from current regulatory requirements.

I trust this information is helpful.

Sincerely,

 

Edward T. Mazzullo
Director, Office of Hazardous
   Materials Standards

172.202(A)(5)(i)

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
172.202 Description of hazardous material on shipping papers