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Interpretation Response #13-0208 ([Avantor Performance Material, Inc.] [Dr. Donald R. Paulus])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Avantor Performance Material, Inc.

Individual Name: Dr. Donald R. Paulus

Location State: PA Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

March 6, 2014

Dr. Donald R. Paulus
Global Dangerous Goods Specialist
Avantor Performance Materials, Inc.
3477 Corporate Parkway Suite #200
Center Valley, PA  18034

Ref. No.: 13-0208

Dear Dr. Paulus:

This is in response to your letter dated October 22, 2013, requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to the display of Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) markings and labeling in conjunction with hazardous materials labels.  You present two specific materials with differing HMR and GHS labeling and marking requirements and ask for PHMSA’s recommendation on how to address situations where classification differs between HMR labels and GHS pictograms.  The two commodities and the conflicting marking and labeling requirements are as follows:

Material #1- UN 1230 Methanol, 3, PG II, which when offered domestically in accordance with HMR requirements only requires a Class 3 flammable label.  However, you note that GHS guidelines specify that both flammable and toxic pictograms are required.

Material # 2- UN 2014, Hydrogen peroxide, aqueous solutions, 5.1, (8), PG II, which in accordance with HMR requirements only requires the Division 5.1 oxidizer and Class 8 corrosive label.  However, you note that the GHS guidelines specify that oxidizer, corrosive, and toxic pictograms are all required.

The HMR prescribes the labeling requirements for transportation purposes.  Only those labels noted above as required for your materials (Class 3 for a domestic shipment of UN 1230 and Division 5.1 and Class 8 for UN 2014) are necessary to comply with the HMR.  Section § 172.401(b) prohibits the transportation of a package bearing any marking or label which by its color, design, or shape could be confused or conflict with a hazard warning label prescribed in the HMR.  The prohibition is intended to preserve the effectiveness of Department of Transportation’s (DOT) hazard warning communication system by preventing dilution of the distinctive DOT labels.  However, § 172.401(c)(5) excepts packages labeled in conformance with GHS requirements from this prohibition.  

One potential solution would be to label the shipments with those labels required for transport under the HMR and to include a secondary GHS label including the additional required GHS pictograms.  You may wish to contact the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), Directorate of Standards & Guidance or further guidance on the appropriate GHS marking and labeling requirements for these materials at:  

U.S. Department of Labor
Occupational Safety & Health Administration
Directorate of Standards & Guidance
200 Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20210

Please note that there are cases where the shipping container also houses the chemical in the workplace. It is our understanding of OSHA’s requirements that in such cases the container must identify the hazards for the chemical user.

A relevant letter of interpretation by OSHA may be found at:….

I trust this information is helpful.  If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact this office.


Duane A. Pfund
International Standards Coordinator
Standards and Rulemaking Division


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
172.401 Prohibited labeling