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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 #21-0089

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Molecule Corp. Company

Individual Name: Nick Talken

Location State: CA Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

December 10, 2021

Mr. Nick Talken
Molecule Corp. Company
5110 Port Chicago Highway
Concord, CA 94520

Reference No. 21-0089

Dear Mr. Talken:

This letter is in response to your August 23, 2021, letter requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to hazardous materials classification. You state that your company has developed a software data platform which provides—for any new chemical formulation—the appropriate hazard classification and description. The output includes the UN Identification Number (UNID), hazardous materials shipping description, hazard class, and packing group (PG) as appropriate. The automatic assignment of hazard classification and description information is based on historical company data (e.g., in-house testing data) and you provided further detail on how this function is performed by the software. You seek feedback from this Office on your company's software approach and technique for determination of hazard class and descriptions.

In accordance with § 173.22, it is the shipper's responsibility to properly classify and describe a hazardous material. There is no prohibition in the HMR against using a software approach as part of the process to perform the functions of classifying and describing a hazardous material; however, a software approach cannot act as a substitute for the performance of testing in determining a hazard classification, where it is required. It is our understanding that your software approach is an assistive tool and not a replacement for company testing in the absence of historical company test data that can be used as a comparison for a new formulation. Therefore, if your software approach—as described in your August 23, 2021, letter—provides the hazard classification and material description in compliance with the requirements of the HMR and international regulations for the transport of hazardous materials, then we see no issue with your company using this tool with regard to the shipper’s responsibility.

Please note, this response letter is neither a validation nor a certification of your software approach.

I hope this information is helpful. Please contact us if we can be of further assistance.


Dirk Der Kinderen
Chief, Standards Development Branch
Standards and Rulemaking Division


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.22 Shipper's responsibility