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Interpretation Response #12-0238 ([Wers Professional Services] [Mr. Kevin Skerrett])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Wers Professional Services

Individual Name: Mr. Kevin Skerrett

Location State: NY Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

February 20, 2013



Mr. Kevin Skerrett
Wers Professional Services
77 Clearbrook Drive
Rochester, New York   14609

Ref. No. 12-0238

Dear Mr. Skerrett:

This responds to your October 22, 2012 request for clarification on § 173.150(e), on aqueous solutions of alcohol exception, in the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR 171-180).  In clarification letter Ref. No. 12-0029, PHMSA stated its' opinion that a product which contains 24% or less alcohol by volume and contains no less than 50% water, as well as less than 3% of ammonium hydroxide solution as a PH balancer was not eligible for the exception provided in § 173.150(e) because the solution contains other hazardous material (i.e. ammonium hydroxide).   Specifically, you request additional clarification on this exception, especially the definition of a hazardous material as used in clarification letter Ref. No. 12-0029.

In regard to letter Ref. No. 12-0029, the incoming request indicated that the ammonium hydroxide ingredient is a Class 8 corrosive liquid.  The term "hazardous material" is defined in 
§ 171.8 as follows:

"a substance or material that the Secretary of Transportation has determined is capable of posing an unreasonable risk to health, safety, and property when transported in commerce, and has designated as hazardous under section 5103 of Federal hazardous materials transportation law (49 U.S.C. 5103). The term includes hazardous substances, hazardous wastes, marine pollutants, elevated temperature materials, materials designated as hazardous in the Hazardous Materials Table (see 49 CFR 172.101), and materials that meet the defining criteria for hazard classes and divisions in part 173 of this subchapter."

Regarding your mixture, if your material contains an ingredient, i.e., ammonium hydroxide,  that meets the definition of a hazardous material as stated above, and the defining criteria for hazard classes and divisions in part 173 of the HMR, the exception in § 173.150(e) does not apply as stated in letter Ref. No. 12-0029.

Section 173.22 of the HMR states that a shipper is required to properly class and describe a hazardous material in accordance with Parts 172 and 173 of the HMR.  We do not perform this function.  If you can establish the PH balancer used in your solution does not meet the definition of a hazardous material then it is eligible for the exception in § 173.150(e).

I hope this answers your inquiry.  If you need additional assistance, please contact this office at 202-366-8553.


Robert Benedict
Chief, Standards Development Branch
Standards and Rulemaking Division

173.150, 173.22

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.150 Exceptions for Class 3 (flammable and combustible liquids)
173.22 Shipper's responsibility