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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 #CHI-87-004 ([Lawrence W. Bierlein, P.C.] [Gordon Rousseau])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Lawrence W. Bierlein, P.C.

Individual Name: Gordon Rousseau

Location State: DC Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:




Int. No. 87-5-RSPA


Gordon Rousseau

Senior Technical Advisor

Lawrence W. Bierlein, P.C.

P.Q. Box 25576

Washington, D.C. 20007

FACTS: Request for an interpretation of 49 CFR §173.12, regarding how § 173.12 applies to hazardous substances and poisonous materials, particularly poisonous
liquids that are toxic-by-inhalation. Paragraph (a) of § 173.12 states:

"Waste material… are excepted from the specification packaging requirements of this subchapter it packaged in combination packaging in accordance with this… In addition, a generic proper shipping name from § 172.101 may be used in place of specific chemical names, when two or more waste materials in the same hazard class are packaged in the same outside packaging ("labpacks"), provided the waste materials are chemically compatible."

The request for interpretation involves four specific questions concerning § 173.12: (1) Does § 173.12 provide an exception to the additional poison and hazardous
substance identification requirements of § 172.203(c) and (k); (2) Does § 173.12 apply when additional requirements are imposed by other sections (e.g., §§  172.203, 172.301(a), 172.324); (3) How is § 173.12 affected by the marking requirements adopted under HM-196 and HM-145F; and (4) When combinations of waste stream
sources are contained in the same labpack are waste stream numbers for each source to appear on the outside packaging and shipping papers.

INTERPRETATION: Section 173.12 provides exceptions for shipments of waste materials and allows the use of "labpacks." However, § 173.12 does not relieve
shippers of all the requirements of the Hazardous Materials Regulations [HMR], and there are limitations on the use of the exceptions in that section. First, § 173.12 is not intended to provide an exception from the description requirements of either paragraphs (c) or (k) of § 172.203.  Second, § 173.12 does not grant relief from specific shipping paper and marking requirements such as those contained In §§ 172.203, 172.301, and 172.324. Moreover, regardless of § 173.12, materials that meet the toxic-by-inhalation requirements of § 173.3a pose extreme safety hazards and must be packaged as prescribed in §  173.3a. Third, § 173.12 does not provide exceptions from the requirements adopted under HM-196 and HM-145F. Under HM-145F, each hazardous substance contained in a "labpack" must be Identified as required by § 172.324.  Generic shipping names may be used only if the specific chemical names required by §§ 172.203 and 172.324 are included in the shipping descriptions. Last, if samples of different waste streams are contained within a labpack, each stream must be identified with the appropriate waste stream number on the shipping papers and the outside packages.

ISSUED: _______________

George W. Tenley, Jr.

Office of the Chief Counsel

Research and Special Programs



Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.12 Exceptions for shipment of waste materials