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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 #98-0346 ([Thompson, Hine & Flory, LLP] [Mr. Norman J. Philion])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Thompson, Hine & Flory, LLP

Individual Name: Mr. Norman J. Philion

Location State: DC Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

JAN 19, 1999


Mr. Norman J. Philion                          Ref. No. 98-0346
Thompson, Hine & Flory, LLP
1920 N Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036

Dear Mr. Philion:

This responds to your letter of November 16, 1998, and subsequent telephone conversations with Ms. Diane LaValle of my staff concerning labels used on shipments by Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., from Japan to the United States.  You ask
whether an olive-green Class 2 label conforms to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code and is therefore acceptable for use in the United States under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180).

You are correct that § 171.12(b) of the HMR permits transportation in the United States of a material that is packaged, marked, classed, labeled, placarded, described, stowed and segregated, and certified in accordance with the IMDG Code, provided that all or part of the transportation is by vessel. Colors authorized by the IMDG Code for label  ,s  marks, and signs are in section 8 of the General Introduction.
Unlike the HMR, the IMDG Code does not provide specific color
for labels.  Instead, as your letter notes, the
IMDG Code includes color pictures for each label authorized for international transportation by vessel.  The colors are intended to be consistent with those specified in the UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (UN Recommendations).

It is the opinion of this office that the olive-green label is not consistent with the color specification for a Class 2 label in the IMDG Code.  In the IMDG Code, the color shown for a Class 2 label is dark green with no olive or yellow tones.

Because of the olive-green labels obvious inconsistency with both the IMDG Code and the UN Recommendations, it is not suitable for shipments into the United States.

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


Thomas G. Allan
Senior Transportation Regulations Specialist
Office of Hazardous Materials Standards


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
172.407 Label specifications