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Interpretation Response #13-0222 ([Dr. Matthew Williams])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name:

Individual Name: Dr. Matthew Williams

Location State: FL Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

April 24, 2014

Dr. Matthew Williams
3616 Londerry Drive
Tallahassee, Florida  32309

Reference No. 13-0222

Dear Mr. Williams:

This is in response to your November 4, 2013 letter requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to formalin, a trade name for a type of formaldehyde solution. You note that a buffered 10% solution of formalin contains about 3-4% formaldehyde.  You ask if a 10% buffered solution of formalin containing 3-4% formaldehyde is regulated under the HMR?

As required by § 173.22 of the HMR, it is the shipper's responsibility to properly class a hazardous material.  This Office generally does not perform this function.  Manufacturers generally have the knowledge to properly class the materials and products they produce, although it may be necessary to enlist an outside laboratory to assist in the classification process as testing may have to be conducted to determine how a product compares to the criteria for the nine hazard classes.  However, although you did not provide sufficient information, such as testing results or a Safety Data Sheet, the acute effects of formaldehyde solutions have been well documented.  Therefore, provided the solution does not meet the definition of any other hazard class, a 10% buffered solution of formalin containing less than 10% formaldehyde is not subject to the HMR (See § 172.102 Special Provision A189).  For additional background information on the correct classification of formalin, please refer to the final rule entitled “Hazardous Materials: Miscellaneous Amendments“[Docket No. PHMSA 2009-0151 (HM-218F)], published on July 20, 2011 [76 FR 43510].

I hope this satisfies your request.


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


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.22 Shipper's responsibility