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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 #13-0031 ([Minigrip] [Mr. Ben Hellming])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Minigrip

Individual Name: Mr. Ben Hellming

Location State: GA Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

March 25, 2013



Mr. Ben Hellming
161 Kimball Bridge Road
Alpharetta, GA 30009

Ref No.: 13-0031

Dear Mr. Hellming:

This is a response to your January 25, 2013 email and subsequent telephone conversation with a member of my staff requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 100-185) with regard to general packaging requirements.  Specifically, you request confirmation that a packaging that your company has designed, which will not contain hazardous materials, voluntarily complies with the venting requirements for packaging specified in § 173.24(g)(2).

In your email, you include a description of your packaging and pictures of the packaging configuration.  The packaging is considered a combination packaging and consists of a primary leak-proof container to hold specimens, packed in a secondary bag that has been fitted with a pressure release patch, which is further placed in a rigid outer container.  The package is marked with orientation arrows.  Additionally, the bag has printed language stating "do not cover pressure release patch."  You indicate that the primary leak-proof cups as well as the secondary bag have both been tested to withstand a 95 kPa internal pressure test.

Based on the telephone conversation with my staff, these packages are meant to hold specimens (e.g. blood and urine) that do not meet the definition of any hazard class, including Division 6.2, Infectious Substance and are not subject to the HMR.  While these materials are not required to be shipped in conformance with the HMR, you intend for your packaging to voluntarily comply with the general packaging requirements in § 173.24(g)(2).  It should be noted that the venting requirement in § 173.24(g)(2) is not a standalone requirement.  In order for a packaging to fully comply with the venting requirements of the HMR, the packaging must conform to all requirements of § 173.24(g).

The purpose of § 173.24(g) is to allow for the venting of packages to reduce internal pressure, which may develop by the evolution of gas from the contents.  For all non-bulk packaging venting is only permitted under the following conditions:  (1) except for shipments of cryogenic liquids as specified in § 173.320(c) and of carbon dioxide, solid (dry ice), transportation by aircraft is not involved; (2) except as otherwise provided in this the HMR, the evolved gases are not poisonous, likely to create a flammable mixture with air or be an asphyxiant under normal conditions of transportation; and (3) the packaging is designed so as to preclude an unintentional release of hazardous materials from the receptacle.

It also be should be noted that if the packaging is intended to contain materials classified as Division 6.2 (infectious substances), the requirements of the applicable packaging section for the specific category of infectious substance (§§ 173.196, 173.197, and 173.199) must also be met.  Furthermore, § 173.134 provides exceptions from the HMR for potentially infectious substances such as blood and urine.

I hope this information is helpful.  If you have any more questions, please do not hesitate to contact this office.



Robert Benedict
Chief, Standards Development
Standards and Rulemaking Division

173.124, 173.134

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.124 Class 4, Divisions 4.1, 4.2 and 4.3-Definitions
173.134 Class 6, Division 6.2-Definitions and exceptions