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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 #98-0545 ([Mr. Robert C. Franz])

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: Mr. Robert C. Franz

Location State: NJ Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

JAN 6, 1998


Mr. Robert C. Franz
61 Roosevelt Boulevard
Florham Park, NJ 07932

Dear Mr. Franz:

This is in response to your letter dated September 27, 1997, regarding the transportation of safety matches under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180). Specifically, you ask why safety matches are regulated under the HMR.

Safety matches are regulated as a Division 4.1 (flammable solid) material. Section 173.124 (a)(3)(i) defines one category of readily combustible solids as materials that are solids which may cause a fire through friction, such as matches. Safety matches meet this definition and are regulated under the HMR. The Hazardous Materials Table (HMT) in § 172.101 lists "Matches, safety (book, card or strike on box)" as a proper shipping name.

Column (8A) of the HMT lists an exception for safety matches under § 173.186. Section 173.186 (c) states that safety matches must be tightly packed in securely closed inner packagings to prevent accidental ignition under conditions normally incident to transportation, and further packed in outer fiberboard, wooden, or other equivalent-type packagings. These matches in outer packagings not exceeding 23 kg (50 lbs.) gross weight are not subject to any other requirement (except marking) of the HMR. These packagings may be packed in the same outer packaging with materials not subject to the HMR. Those who offer for transportation packages of safety matches which exceed 23 kg must adhere to all the requirements of the HMR including shipping papers, marking, labeling, placarding, and training.

Section 171.11 authorizes the use of the International Civil Aviation Organization's (ICAO) Technical Instructions as an alternative to 49 CFR for air shipments. However, ICAO does not provide the 23 kg exception for safety matches.
Please note that the United States Post Office has its own set of hazardous materials transportation guidelines. 'Shipments of hazardous materials made via the United States Postal Office are not subject to the HMR.

I hope this information is helpful. If you need further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.


Delmer F. BiI1ing
Chief, Regulations Development
Office of Hazardous Materials Standards

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.186 Matches