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Interpretation Response #13-0114 ([WTS, Inc.] [Mr. James Moulds])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: WTS, Inc.

Individual Name: Mr. James Moulds

Location State: VA Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

October 18, 2013

Mr. James Moulds
Sr. Environmental Services Manager
WTS, Inc.
2119 East Franklin St.
Lower Level
Richmond, VA 23223

Ref. No.: 13-0114

Dear Mr. Moulds:

This responds to your May 14, 2013 letter requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to shipping flammable solids in bulk packages.  In your letter, you state that a manufacturer produces a fluoropolymer based “tape” that consists of a non-hazardous polymer (polytetrafluoroethylene) impregnated with an isoparaffinic petroleum distillate (Isopar K©).  You state that the Isopar K is completely absorbed into the polymer matrix and will not separate from it nor become a free liquid under normal conditions, including those encountered during transportation (compression, heat, and vibration).  You state that you classified the material as “UN1325, Flammable solids, organic, n.o.s., (contains mineral spirits), 4.1, PG III,” and transport it in bulk packages authorized in column 8C of the Hazardous Materials Table (HMT).  Your questions are paraphrased and answered below.

Q1: You state the “tape” has been classified as a Division 4.1 (PG III) hazardous material in accordance with § 173.124(a)(3)(ii) as the test data shows it exhibits a burning rate greater than 2.2mm per second when tested in accordance with the United Nations “Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, Manual of Tests and Criteria, Fourth Revised Edition” (Section 33 – Classification Procedures, Test Methods and Criteria relating to Class 4).  You ask whether a shipping description of “UN1325, Flammable solids, organic, n.o.s., (contains mineral spirits), 4.1, PG III” or “UN3175, Solids containing flammable liquid, n.o.s., (contains mineral spirits), 4.1, PG II” is accurate?  

A1: In accordance with § 173.22, it is the shipper's responsibility to properly classify and describe a hazardous material.  This Office does not perform that function.  In order to be classified as a Division 4.1 (flammable solid), the material must meet the conditions listed in § 173.124(a)(1), (2), or (3).  If you have test data that indicates the item meets these conditions, the shipping descriptions for UN1325 or UN3175 could be correct.  However, as stated above, it is the shipper's responsibility to properly classify and describe a hazardous material.

Q2: You state that it has been suggested to you that for the “tape,” the more appropriate shipping description is “UN3175, Solids containing flammable liquid, n.o.s., (contains mineral spirits), 4.1, PG II.”  You ask which shipping description is more correct?

A2: Please see A1.  It is the shipper’s responsibility to properly classify and describe a hazardous material.  However, based on our review of the data you provided, “UN3175, Solids containing flammable liquid, n.o.s., (contains mineral spirits), 4.1, PG II” is the more accurate shipping description.

Q3: You ask what type of bulk packagings are authorized under § 173.240(b) and (c) for this “tape” (i.e., UN3175, Solids containing flammable liquid, n.o.s., (contains mineral spirits), 4.1, PG II)?

A3: For certain low hazard solid materials, select motor vehicles, portable tanks, and closed bulk bins are authorized under § 173.240(b) and (c).  In the scenario you described in your letter, you may choose any of the following bulk packages:

Motor vehicles: Specification MC 300, MC 301, MC 302, MC 303, MC 304, MC 305, MC 306, MC 307, MC 310, MC 311, MC 312, MC 330, MC 331, DOT 406, DOT 407, and DOT 412 cargo tank motor vehicles; non-DOT specification, sift-proof cargo tank motor vehicles; and sift-proof closed vehicles.

Portable tanks and closed bulk bins: DOT 51, 56, 57 and 60 portable tanks; IMO type 1, 2 and 5, and IM 101 and IM 102 portable tanks; UN portable tanks; marine portable tanks conforming to 46 CFR part 64; and sift-proof non-DOT Specification portable tanks and closed bulk bins are authorized.

Q4: You ask whether a closed box van trailer meets the criteria of a sift-proof closed bulk bin?

A4: The answer is yes.  Section 173.240 authorizes the transportation of certain low hazard solid materials in non-DOT specification sift-proof closed bulk bins.  In order to be considered sift-proof, the completed package may not permit the escape of any of the hazardous material contained therein.  A “closed bulk bin” is a type of bulk packaging other than a portable tank, cargo tank, tank car and multi-unit tank car.  It is the shipper's responsibility to ensure that the packaging provides sift-proof containment at the time of shipment and will continue to provide that containment until the package reaches its final destination.  It is the opinion of this Office that a box van trailer is a “closed bulk bin” if the provisions of § 173.240 requiring sift-proof containment are met.  

In addition to being sift-proof and closed, the package must also meet general packaging provisions of §§ 173.24 and 173.24b.  Further, the bins are also subject to the requirements of the special provisions contained in Column 7 of the HMT, as applicable to the material being transported.

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

Sincerely,

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

173.124, 173.22, 173.204, 173.24, 173.24b

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.124 Class 4, Divisions 4.1, 4.2 and 4.3-Definitions
173.22 Shipper's responsibility