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Interpretation Response #08-0224 ([Strem Chemicals, Inc.] [Mr. Jason Stevens])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Strem Chemicals, Inc.

Individual Name: Mr. Jason Stevens

Location State: MA Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

October 8, 2008

Mr. Jason Stevens

Strem Chemicals, Inc.

7 Mulliken Way

Newburyport, MA 01950-4098

Ref. No. 08-0224

Dear Mr. Stevens:

This responds to your May 21, 2008 letter to our Office of Hazardous Materials Enforcement and your August 19, 2008 email and telephone discussions with a member of my staff requesting clarification of the applicability of selective testing of a combination package under § 178.601(g) of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180). Specifically, you request clarification of the use of "Variation 4" in combination with "Variation 1."

Your company uses a combination package design-type that has been successfully tested for both liquids and solids at the Packing Group I level. The combination package consists of a slotted fiberboard box containing four half gallon glass bottles and vermiculite as cushioning material. You indicate your company also uses a smaller version of the tested design-type. Both the outer dimensions and glass bottles are smaller than the original. The smaller version includes steel cans as an intermediate packaging into which the glass bottles are placed to provide an improved level of safety. Additionally, for certain shipments, plastic bottles are substituted for the glass bottles. Your understanding is that this packaging configuration is allowed, without having to test the combination package, in conformance with the combined use of Variation 4 and Variation 1 (§§ 178.601(g)(4) and 178.601(g)(1), respectively).

Your questions regarding the smaller version of the combination package design-type are paraphrased as follows:

Q1. May the steel can be substituted for the glass bottle as the inner packaging?

A1. No. Based on the description and pictures of the combination package you provided, the steel can may not be substituted for the glass bottle. Section 178.601(g)(4) allows the use of outer packaging conforming to all of the conditions in Variation 4 without testing to transport inner packagings substituted for the originally tested inner packagings if the substituted inner packagings conform to all the conditions in Variation 1. It is the opinion of this Office that the steel can does not meet all of the conditions in Variation 1. Specifically, the steel can is not of similar design to the glass bottle (e.g., the bottle has a tapered neck), and the steel can does not have the same opening and the closure is not of similar design. That is, the steel can opening is larger than the glass bottle opening and the steel can closure is a friction lid versus a taped screw cap for the glass bottle.

Q2. May the steel can be used as an intermediate packaging for the smaller-sized glass bottle?

A2. No. Neither Variation 1 nor Variation 4, §§ 178.601(g)(1) and 178.601(g)(4), respectively, allows the use of intermediate packaging as a condition for not having to test the combination package.

Q3. May the steel can be used as an intermediate packaging for a smaller-sized plastic bottle substituted for the glass bottle?

A3. See answer to Q2. However, excluding the intermediate packaging of the steel can, a plastic bottle in conformance with all the conditions of Variation 1 may be substituted for the glass bottle. For example, as a condition of Variation 1, the shipper must ensure the plastic bottle offers resistance to impact and stacking forces equal to or greater than the glass bottle (§ 178.601(g)(1)(i)(B)).

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


Edward T. Mazzullo

Director, Office of Hazardous

Materials Standards


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
178.601 General requirements