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Interpretation Response #11-0313 ([Patterson Companies, Inc.] [Mr. Robb Boros Patte])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Patterson Companies, Inc.

Individual Name: Mr. Robb Boros Patte

Location State: IA Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

February 6, 2012


Mr. Robb Boros
Patterson Companies, Inc.
1905 Lakewood Drive
Boone, Iowa 50036

Reference No.: 11-0313

Dear Mr. Boros:

This is in response to your letter of December 16, 2011, requesting information on the shipment of dry batteries containing potassium hydroxide under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180). Your questions are paraphrased and answered as follows:

Q1. For the entry, "Batteries, dry, sealed, n.o.s.," what constitutes a battery being considered dry?

A1. The dry batteries described in § 172.102, Special Provision 130 have gelled alkaline electrolytes absorbed by the contents of the battery. While these batteries are not completely free of moisture they may be used in any orientation which allows them to be used in portable power applications. Common dry batteries include alkaline-manganese, zinc-carbon, nickel-metal hydride, and nickel cadmium. These batteries are distinct from "Batteries, wet, non-spillable" and "Batteries, dry, containing potassium hydroxide solid."

Q2. Is the term "sealed" as it is used in § 172.102, Special Provision 130 specifically mean hermetically sealed?

A2. Yes, § 172.102, Special Provision 130 specifically uses the term "hermetically sealed" to describe the batteries covered by the entry "Batteries, dry, sealed, n.o.s."

Q3. Do the terms "sealed" and "non-spillable" as they are used in the HMR have independent definitions, and should not be used interchangeably?

A3. Yes. Non-spillable refers to a type of wet electric storage battery with acid that is either gelled with silica or absorbed in a mat of micro-glass fibers. Batteries may be considered as non-spillable if they are capable of withstanding the vibration and pressure differential tests specified in § 173.159(f). Sealed batteries are hermetically sealed batteries of the type described in § 172.102, Special Provision 130.

Q4. If a dry battery contains potassium hydroxide, is "Batteries, dry, containing potassium hydroxide solid" the most appropriate proper shipping name?

A4. The entry "Batteries, dry, containing potassium hydroxide solid" should be used to describe non-activated batteries which contain dry potassium hydroxide and which are intended to be activated prior to use by the addition of an appropriate amount of water to the individual cells. This proper shipping name does not apply to common household batteries such as alkaline-manganese, zinc-carbon, nickel-metal hydride and nickel cadmium which are most appropriately described as "batteries, dry, sealed, n.o.s."

Q5. Can a battery that contains potassium hydroxide or similar caustic material in a form that can flow from the battery still be considered a dry battery?

A6. No. Batteries that contain liquid electrolyte which could flow out of the battery if the battery case is cracked must be described as "Batteries, wet, filled with acid" or "Batteries, wet, filled with alkali" as appropriate.

I hope this answers your inquiry. If you need additional assistance, please contact the Standards and Rulemaking Division at (202) 366-8553.



Ben Supko
Acting Chief, Standards Development
Standards and Rulemaking Division

172.102 SP 130, 173.159(f)

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.159 Batteries, wet