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Interpretation Response #09-0275 ([Akzo Nobel Chemicals Inc.] [Mr. Mark A. Connolly])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Akzo Nobel Chemicals Inc.

Individual Name: Mr. Mark A. Connolly

Location State: IL Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

January 20, 2010




Mr. Mark A. Connolly

Manager " Transportation Regulations and Security

Akzo Nobel Chemicals Inc.

525 West Van Buren Street

Chicago, IL 60607-3823

Ref. No.: 09-0275

Dear Mr. Connolly:

This responds to your email dated November 11, 2009 requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to the display of marine pollutant marks on non-bulk packagings. You enclosed a picture of a brown box with a preprinted black marine pollutant mark. Your questions are summarized and answered as follows:

Q1. Does PHMSA agree that the mark depicted in the picture does not satisfy the requirement of the HMR or the marking requirements of the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code)?

A1. As specified in § 172.322, the marine pollutant mark must be black on a white background or the symbol, border, and background must be of contrasting color to the surface to which the marking is to be affixed. The background of the mark shown in the picture does not contrast with the surface of the box; thus, it does not satisfy § 172.322(e)(2).

Subject to the conditions and limitations in § 171.22, 171.23, 171.24, 171.25, and 171.26, as applicable, hazardous materials may be offered for transportation and transported in the United States in accordance with requirements in the IMDG Code. Therefore, IMDG Code markings such as the marine pollutant mark may be used when hazardous materials are transported to, from or within the United States, provided all or part of the transportation is by vessel. Section of the IMDG Code requires the marine pollutant mark to be displayed on a contrasting background on the external surface of a package. The black marking contrasts with the brown background in the picture you provided; therefore, it satisfies the marking requirements of the IMDG Code and may be displayed in that manner when a package is offered and transported in accordance with the IMDG Code.

Q2. Would the mark be compliant with the HMR if the background of the mark were white?

A2. Yes. See § 172.322(e)(2).

Q3. May the marine pollutant mark be placed on an adjacent side of a box when the size of the box is not conducive to placing both the mark and the label on the same side?

A3. Yes. The marine pollutant mark must be placed "in association" with any hazard warning labels (§ 172.322(a)(2)). In this scenario, the placement of the marking on an adjacent side of the box satisfies the "in association" requirement.

I hope this answers your inquiry.


Charles E. Betts

Chief, Standards Development

Office of Hazardous Materials Standards



Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.322 Ethyl chloride