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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Interpretation Response #12-0207 ([Railroad Regulatory Safety Services] [Mr. Raymond Kasey])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Railroad Regulatory Safety Services

Individual Name: Mr. Raymond Kasey

Location State: VA Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

December 3, 2012

Mr. Raymond Kasey
Railroad Regulatory Safety Services
7500 Masonville Drive
Falls Church, VA 22042-3520

Ref. No.: 12-0207

Dear Mr. Kasey:

This responds to your September 14, 2012 letter requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to additional description requirements for shipping papers.  Your questions are paraphrased and answered below.

Q1:   You ask where on the shipping paper must the word "non-odorized" or "not-odorized" be located when shipping liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)?  You also ask whether the word "non-odorized" or "not-odorized" must follow the basic description, or be immediately before or after the proper shipping name?

A1:   In accordance with § 172.203(p), the word "non-odorized" or "not-odorized" must be included in association with the proper shipping description on a shipping paper when non-odorized LPG is offered for transportation. 

Furthermore, in order to maintain harmonization with international standards (e.g., International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code, International Civil Aviation Organization Technical Instructions, etc.), the word "non-odorized" or "not-odorized" is required to be provided in association with the proper shipping description and not immediately preceding the proper shipping name, since international regulations do not permit additional information to be interspersed among the four required elements of the basic description.

Q2:   You ask whether LPG shipments that originate in the U.S. and terminate in Canada must have the non-odorized notation?  You also ask if Transport Canada will accept the U.S. shipping paper reference?

A2:   The answer is yes, the word "non-odorized" or "not-odorized" must be included in association with the proper shipping description on a shipping paper when non-odorized LPG is offered for transportation.  Further, there are no provisions in the HMR that prevent Transport Canada from accepting the additional description requirements for shipping papers when non-odorized LPG is offered for transportation.

In your letter, you also suggest that the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) revise the HMR to: (1) revise the generic use of the proper shipping name Liquefied Petroleum Gas to include the other products in the LPG family such as butane, isobutane, and propane, et. al.; and (2) develop one standard of where the extra descriptive information goes on a shipping paper in order to standardize shipping paper information across all modes of transport.

We appreciate your bringing these issues to our attention.  PHMSA cannot make regulatory changes through a request for interpretation of the HMR.  However, if you believe a rulemaking change is warranted, we invite you to file a petition for rulemaking in accordance with § 106.95 including all information (see § 106.100) needed to support your petition.

I trust this satisfies your inquiry.  Please contact us if we can be of further assistance.


T. Glenn Foster
Chief, Regulatory Review and Reinvention Branch
Standards and Rulemaking Division


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
106.100 Required information for a petition for rulemaking
106.95 Requesting a change to the regulations
172.203 Additional description requirements