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Interpretation Response #14-0068 ([Dart Container Corporation] [Ms. Tristam Harrington])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Dart Container Corporation

Individual Name: Ms. Tristam Harrington

Location State: MI Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

May 16, 2014

Mr. Tristam Harrington
Corporate Transportation Procurement Manager
Dart Container Corporation
500 Hogsback Road
Mason, MI  48854

Ref. No.: 14-0068

Dear Mr. Harrington:

This is in response to your email dated March 31, 2014, requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to shipments of polymeric beads, expandable and plastic molding compounds, and the definition of hermetically sealed.    Your questions are paraphrased and answered as follows:  

Q1. Does the “or” in § 176.907(c)(1) separate, “packed in hermetically sealed packagings” from the temperature and pressure requirements of the IBC’s packing group II performance level for liquid dangerous goods?

A1. The answer to your question is no.  The “or” in this section separates packed in hermetically sealed packagings from IBC’s.  To be excepted from the requirements of paragraphs (a) and (b), shipments would have to be offered in hermetically sealed packaging (either non-bulk packaging or IBC’s) that meet the performance packing group level and pressure requirements found in § 176.907(c)(1).  The hermetically sealed requirement, performance packing group level, and pressure requirements apply to all packagings including IBC’s.  As an IBC is a type of packaging it is noted that the use of the phrase “non-bulk packaging” instead of “packaging” in § 176.907(c)(1) would be more appropriate.  PHMSA may revise this section in a future rulemaking.

Q2. The definition of hermetically sealed as given in § 171.8 states “Hermetically sealed means closed by fusion, gasketing, crimping, or equivalent means so that no gas or vapor can enter or escape.”  If one of the seals listed above is used and prevents gas or vapor from entering or escaping and the packaging is made of a suitable material so the strength of the material used and the construction of the bag is appropriate to the capacity of the bag and its intended use, and that joins and closures withstand pressures and impacts liable to occur under normal conditions of transport, does this meet the requirements of § 176.907 as being hermetically sealed.

A2. The definition of hermetically sealed in § 171.8 does apply to packagings considered under § 176.907(c)(1).  From your incoming letter it appears you are asking about the possibility of utilizing “bags” to comply with the requirements of § 176.907(c)(1).  It is important to note in order to utilize the exception from transporting polymeric beads, expandable and plastic molding compounds in ventilated cargo transport units, the package must be capable of conforming to packing group II performance level for liquid dangerous goods and meet the applicable pressure requirements shown in § 176.907(c)(1).  This office is unaware of any flexible bag type IBC’s that are able to meet these requirements.

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

176.907, 171.8

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
171.8 Definitions and abbreviations
176.907 Polymeric Beads and Plastic Molding Compounds