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Interpretation Response #99-0016 ([Brent Industries Inc.] [Mr. Michael Culliton])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Brent Industries Inc.

Individual Name: Mr. Michael Culliton

Location State: AL Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

JUL 8, 1999


Mr. Michael Culliton                               Ref.  No.  99-0016
V.P. Human Resources
Brent Industries Inc.
P.O. Box P
Brent, AL 35034

Dear Mr. Culliton:

This is in response to your letter dated January 20, 1999, regarding the classification of print towels that are soiled with flammable liquids.

Under 49 CFR 173.22, it is the shipper's responsibility to properly classify a hazardous material.  This Office does not perform that function.  If the soiled print towels do not meet any of the hazard class definitions provided in Part 173, they are not regulated under the HMR.  If free flowing liquid can be seen surrounding the print towels, these materials may meet the definition of a flammable liquid in 49 CFR 173.120. If there is no free liquid surrounding the print towels, they may meet the definition of a flammable solid in 49 CFR 173.124.

The entry "Solids containing flammable liquids, n.o.s." in the Hazardous Materials Table, 49 CFR 172.101 lists Special Provision 47 in Column 7. Under special provision "47", mixtures of solids (e.g., print towels) which are not subject to the HMR and flammable liquids may be transported under the entry "Solids containing flammable liquids, n.o.s., 4.1 UN3175, II, without first applying the classification criteria of Division 4.1 (flammable solid), provided there is no free liquid visible at the time the material is loaded or at the time the packaging or transport unit is closed.

Conversely, a person may determine that a mixture of a solid material and a flammable liquid does not meet the definition of Division 4.1 (flammable solid).  Because there is no specific test protocol that may be used to evaluate an article like a print towel that is soiled with a flammable liquid, the person classifying the material may make that determination by comparing it to an analogous material or article.  A representative article that print towels may be compared to is "Firelighters, solid with flammable liquid, 4.1, UN2623, III." If the print towels offered for transportation demonstrate a burning rate that is comparable to or greater than that of a firelighter, it is the opinion of this Office that they meet the definition of a flammable solid.  However, if the print towels fail to sustain combustion after being ignited they are not subject to requirements of the HMR as a flammable solid.

We would appreciate receiving any information you have relative to the incidents mentioned in your letter involving uncontainerized print towels.  Also, we have enclosed a brochure on the Hazardous Materials Registration Program.  If upon review of this brochure you are still uncertain as to the applicability of the registration requirements in 49 CFR 107.601 to your company you may call us at 1-800-467-4922.

I hope this satisfies your inquiry.



Thomas G. Allan
Acting Director, Office of Hazardous
Materials Standards


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.22 Shipper's responsibility