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Interpretation Response #06-0277 ([National Solid Wastes Management Association] [Ms. Alice P. Jacobsohn])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: National Solid Wastes Management Association

Individual Name: Ms. Alice P. Jacobsohn

Location State: DC Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

Apr 26, 2007

 

Hazardous Materials Safety
Administration
Ms. Alice P. Jacobsohn               Reference No. 06-0277
Director, Medical Waste Institute
National Solid Wastes Management Association
4301 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20008

Dear Ms. Jacobsohn:

This corrects our January 18, 2007 response to your November 30, 2006 letter concerning the requirements for transporting “Regulated medical waste, 6.2 (infectious), UN 3291, PG II (RMW) prescribed in sections of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) that were revised in June and December 2006 to harmonize them with international requirements. See Docket Nos. PHMSA-06-25476 (HM-215I, 12/29/06, 71 FR 78595) and PHMSA-2004-16895 (HM-226A, 6/1/06, 71 FR 32243). The correction concerns our original response to your questions concerning the exceptions authorized in § 173.134(c)(2) for the transportation of waste cultures and stocks. We have paraphrased the questions in your November 30, 2006 letter and answered them in the order provided.

Q1.      The final rule issued under Docket No. HM-215I changes the sequence of information required to describe a hazardous material on a shipping paper, but not the sequence of information required on a package marking and label. Is our understanding correct?

Al.        Yes, effective January 1, 2007, the final rule issued under Docket HM-215I revised § 172.202(b) to require the UN identification number of a hazardous material to appear first in its basic description on a shipping paper followed by its proper shipping name, hazard class and packing group for consistency with international requirements. Under § 171.14(e), this new shipping description sequence is mandatory as of January 1, 2013. The sequence of marking and labeling requirements for a hazardous material under the HMR remain unchanged.

Q2.      Under Docket No. HM-226A, the letter “G” was added in Column 1 alongside the entry on the Hazardous Materials Table (HMT: § 172.101), for RMW. Section 172.101(b)(4) requires that HMT entries denoted with this symbol must have the technical name entered in parentheses as a part of the proper shipping description on a shipping paper either after the proper shipping name or at the end of the basic description as is prescribed in § 172.203(k). However, there is no technical name for RMW and this makes compliance with this requirement difficult. Under Docket No. HM-215I the letter “G” no longer appears alongside this entry. Does the removal of this notation mean a technical name is no longer required as part of the RMW proper shipping description?

A2.      Yes.

Q3.      Medical waste haulers collect hazardous materials that cannot be separated from RMW, such as contaminated chemotherapeutic wastes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also requires to be manifested as hazardous waste. Currently, these materials are packaged and disposed of in compliance with the requirements for their hazard class under the HMR, but may not be transported on the same vehicle as waste cultures and stocks transported in accordance with § 173.134(c)(2). Would the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) consider expanding this exception to include RMW that may also meet the definition of another hazard class? The Medical Waste Institute (MWI) asserts there is no change or increase in risk by allowing these substances to be transported onboard the same vehicle with RMW when these materials are packaged for their hazard class and transported to facilities designed to handle these materials in conformance with the HMR.

A3.      The exception in § 173.134(c)(2) permits Category B waste cultures and stocks to be transported as RMW in a rigid non-bulk packaging conforming to certain general packaging requirements when transported by a private or contract carrier in a vehicle used exclusively to transport regulated medical waste. An exclusive-use vehicle is one used for the transportation of a single commodity or class of commodities; transportation in an exclusive-use vehicle in accordance with the exception prevents inadvertent contamination of other types of materials, including non-medical waste materials. The transportation of chemotherapeutic waste and other RMW that also meets the definition of another hazard class on the same vehicle as Category B waste cultures and stocks is consistent with the intent of this exception and, therefore, is permitted under current regulatory requirements.

Q4.      Under 7 CFR 330.400, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Plant and Animal Health Inspection Service (APHIS), arranges compliance agreements for the proper disposal of plant and animal materials imported into the United States. The agreements include specific requirements for handling and disposing of these materials, also known as “regulated garbage,” such as inspections by APHIS agents and the use of leakproof covered receptacles. These materials go to the same disposal facilities as those for RMW, but under the HMR cannot be placed on the same vehicle with RMW and take advantage of the dedicated-exclusive use vehicle exception for RMW waste cultures and stocks prescribed in § 173.134(c)(2). Would PHMSA consider expanding this exception to include APHIS regulated garbage? MWI asserts there is no change or increase in risk by allowing these substances to be transported onboard the same vehicle with .RMW when these materials are packaged for their hazard class and transported to facilities designed to handle these materials in conformance with the HMR.

A4.      As indicated above, the intent of the exception in § 173.134(c)(2) is to prevent inadvertent contamination of other types of materials, including non-medical waste materials. The transportation of APHIS-regulated plant and animal waste appears to meet the intent of this exception. While these materials are not regulated medical waste, as that term is defined in the HMR, the plant and animal waste is considered medical waste and is transported to facilities designated by local authorities and designed for the disposal of medical waste. Further, under § 173.134(c)(2), you may transport medical or clinical equipment and laboratory products on the same vehicle as the waste cultures and stocks covered by the exception, provided they are properly packaged and secured against exposure or contamination. The term “laboratory products” is not defined in the HMR. However, APHIS-regulated plant and animal wastes are generated from laboratories and health care facilities and, thus, may be considered laboratory products for the purposes of the exception.

I hope this information is helpful. Please accept my apology for any confusion our earlier response may have caused.

Sincerely,

 

Susan Gorsky
Regulations Officer
Office of Hazardous Materials Standards

172.101, 173.134 (c)(2), 172.203 (k)

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
172.101 Purpose and use of hazardous materials table
172.203 Additional description requirements
173.134 Class 6, Division 6.2-Definitions and exceptions