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Hazardous Matters July 2023

Image of tank truck driving into sunset with words "Hazardous Matters" overlayed.

Introducing “Hazardous Matters”—the quarterly newsletter for PHMSA's Office of Hazardous Materials Safety. As always, it is packed with the latest news, expert tips, and essential insights for the safe handling and shipment of hazardous materials. Stay informed, stay safe!

July 2023

Spotlight: Hazmat and Outdoor Recreation


Check the Box Outdoor brochure coverSummer is here, and that means spending time outdoors! Remember, some camping, hiking, or hunting supplies are considered hazardous materials.

Always be aware of the risks associated with these items and consider how to handle them safely. When choosing to ship or sell them, they must be properly classified, packaged, labeled, handled, and stowed for transportation, per the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR, 49 CFR Parts 171-180). To help, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has prepared the "Is Hazardous Matt Hiding Outdoors?" brochure, with shipping and air travel information for common outdoors-related hazmat, and links to additional compliance aid documents.

While this brochure is focused on strike-anywhere matches, DOT-39 single-use propane cylinders, and small arms supplies, these are just a few outdoors-related items that are considered hazmat. Others include:

Visit the Check the Box homepage to determine if your items are considered hazmat. Adventure safely and remember to always Check the Box before shipping hazardous materials!


Regulatory News

HM-265A: Modernizing Regulations to Improve Safety and Efficiency


PHMSA is seeking your input to help us improve the HMR!

On July 5, 2023, PHMSA published the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) "HM-265A: Modernizing Regulations to Improve Safety and Efficiency" to the Federal Register. Based on feedback from industry stakeholders, internal PHMSA review, NTSB safety recommendations, and modal safety partners, the ANPRM addresses 46 separate areas where the requirements of the HMR may need to be updated to increase efficiency while improving safety. Topics addressed in the ANPRM include those related to UN Performance Oriented Package testing, tank car safety, hazardous material employee training, and updates to incorporated by reference documents, among others.

The public comment period for this ANPRM ends on October 3, 2023. For questions, please contact Mr. Eamonn Patrick at

HM-263: FAST Act Requirements for Real-Time Train Consist Information

On June 27, PHMSA published a new Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) aimed at improving public safety and preventing environmental impacts by strengthening requirements governing railroads' provision of hazardous materials information to responders during a hazmat incident. This proposal is a response to mandates in the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act and a recommendation from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

The proposal would require all railroads to always maintain — and update in real-time — accurate, electronic information about rail hazmat shipments in a train consist that would be accessible to authorized emergency response personnel. Required information would include the quantity and position of the shipment on the train, the shipment's origin and destination, and a designated emergency point of contact at the railroad. Railroads would also be required to proactively "push" that information to authorized local first response personnel as soon as the railroad is aware of an accident involving any hazardous materials.

The public comment period for this NPRM ends on August 28, 2023. For questions, contact Dirk Der Kinderen at (202) 366-8553.

HM-215Q: Harmonization with International Standards

On May 30, PHMSA published "HM-215Q: Hazardous Materials: Harmonization with International Standards" to the Federal Register. This NPRM proposes amendments to the Hazardous Materials Regulations to maintain alignment with international regulations and standards by adopting various amendments. Amendments include:

  1. Incorporations by reference (IBR), to the 2023–2024 edition ICAO Technical Instructions, Amendment 41-22 to the IMDG Code, and the 22nd revised edition of the UN Model Regulations
  2. Allowing continued use of the transport provisions for polymerizing substances, by removing the previous January 2, 2023 phaseout date 
  3. Adding a new entry to the Hazardous Materials Table "UN3550, Cobalt dihydroxide powder, containing not less than 10% respirable particles," with corresponding packaging provisions
  4. Removing the exceptions provided for small lithium cells and batteries for transportation by aircraft
  5. Removing the telephone number requirement from the lithium battery mark. Note that while this change would not mean that it is a violation to continue to include the telephone number on lithium battery marks, shippers and manufacturers are encouraged to review their marking practices and make any necessary changes to minimize the risk of frustrated shipments.

PHMSA wants your feedback on this proposed rule, so be sure to submit before the comment period closes on July 31, 2023. For questions, contact Candace Casey or Aaron Wiener at (202) 366–8553.

Wanted: Fresh Ideas on Recycled Plastics

Consistent with the Administration's goals of reducing climate pollution, PHMSA is committed to facilitating a more environmentally friendly and sustainable process for manufacturing hazardous materials packagings. On April 14, PHMSA issued this Request for Information (RFI), "Request for Feedback on Recycled Plastics Policy," to seek feedback on the use of recycled plastics in manufacturing hazardous materials packagings.

With this RFI, PHMSA wants to:

  1. Get insights on the impact recycled plastic resins could have on hazardous materials transportation safety
  2. Be transparent about its current policy on using recycled plastics in the manufacturing of hazardous materials packagings
  3. Receive your input to better inform potential regulatory changes
  4. Gather more information for the evaluation of future approval requests.

The deadline for responses is July 13, 2023. So, don't wait to share your thoughts on this crucial topic! Questions may be submitted to Ryan Larson at

Attention Electric Vehicle Owners and Shippers: Watch Out for Flooded Lithium Batteries!

On April 7, 2023, PHMSA issued a safety advisory to alert the public of the risks of lithium battery-powered electric vehicles (EVs) that may have been damaged due to submersion during extreme weather events. PHMSA has learned of fires involving lithium batteries installed in EVs that were submerged in floodwaters after storms. Saltwater is especially harmful to lithium batteries as residual salt can cause the battery to short circuit and result in a fire. Additionally, the time frame in which a damaged battery can ignite varies, from days to weeks, and EV battery fires can be extremely damaging. Of course, transporting these flooded batteries could also pose a risk for shippers.

EV owners, salvage companies, and vehicle transport companies should check for potential damage to their installed lithium batteries before shipping. Shippers must follow the specific requirements in the HMR for both the transportation of EVs containing lithium batteries, and for the transportation of damaged or defective lithium batteries in commerce. PHMSA will continue to work with our safety partners to understand the emerging risks of flooded EV batteries. As such, we plan to conduct research and issue updated guidance when additional information is available.

For more details, view the full safety advisory here.

Interested in being the first to know when PHMSA posts notices and rulemakings to the Federal Register? Receive email notifications from the Federal Register whenever PHMSA posts by visiting the Federal Register site and clicking 'Subscribe' at

Publications Resources

Check the Box Activity book cover imageIs Hazardous Matt Hiding in Your Activity Book?

It’s never too early to start teaching your children about household hazmat! In this coloring and activity book, Hazardous Matt and Friends are here to help kids learn about household hazardous materials. The book contains coloring pages, a word find, a maze, and more—and best of all, it's free to print and share!

Choose from one of two format options, to best suit your printer. 

8.5 x 11” (page-by-page): 

11 x 17” (centerfold):


Materials of Trade (MOTs) brochure cover image

Understanding Materials of Trade (MOTs)

Materials of Trade, or MOTs, are a category of hazmat which, when transported by motor vehicle in small quantities as part of a business (other than transportation), are subject to fewer HMR requirements due to the limited hazard they pose. This brochure provides a general overview of the Materials of Trade exception, including the parameters, applicable materials, and a flowchart for determining quantity restrictions.



Fireworks Certification Proceedures brochure cover image

Fireworks Certification Procedures: A Guide to Certifying UN0336, 1.4G Consumer Fireworks

This brochure provides information about the certification of UN0336 Division 1.4G consumer fireworks via Firework Certification Agencies (FCA). For FCAs and those interested in becoming FCAs, this resource details the application process to become an FCA, as well as subsequent operating requirements and procedures. For fireworks manufacturers or importers, the brochure describes how to apply for certification from an FCA, differences between FC and EX numbers, and record-keeping requirements.



Performance Packaging Codes poster image

Unpacking Packaging Codes: A Quick Reference Guide to Performance Packaging Codes

Many hazardous materials shipments require performance-oriented packagings for safe transportation. While the UN packaging codes found on these packagings can be difficult to understand, they provide crucial information for shippers.

The "Unpacking Packaging Codes" poster is a quick reference guide to non-bulk performance-oriented packaging codes and is meant to assist those packing hazmat shipments in a warehouse setting. The poster details the elements that comprise a sample UN packaging code, as well as information on variation and reconditioned packagings. For more information, consult 49 CFR Part 178, Subpart L for the full regulatory text.



CTB Fact Sheet cover imageCheck the Box: General Fact Sheet

Each year about 1,500 undeclared hazardous materials incidents occur in the United States. The Check the Box initiative is the U.S. DOT's educational campaign promoting public awareness of the need for safer shipping of hazardous materials.

Updated from 2018 with the most recent data, this fact sheet provides information on real-life incidents involving undeclared hazardous materials. This quick reference demonstrates that undeclared hazardous materials incidents occur throughout the nation and on all modes of transportation. The fact sheet provides a heat map of incidents in the U.S., commodities most often involved in hazardous materials incidents, and a brief description of some notable recent undeclared hazardous materials incidents.


PHMSA develops compliance assistance materials that make it easier to understand and comply with the HMR. All resources below are available at:

Coming soon: 2024 Edition of the Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG).

How has the ERG helped you? Share your ERG success stories at


Educational Resources Banner image

PHMSA Webinars

PHMSA offers informational hazardous materials transportation workshops and webinars. These free webinar opportunities are for anyone who offers or transports hazardous materials in commerce or has a desire to learn more about the HMR. For more information, visit our Webinars webpage (below), and follow the registration link to see the upcoming schedule of events.

Link to PHMSA Webinars and Workshops:


For additional information contact:

The Hazardous Materials Info Center

1.800.HMR.4922 or (1.800.467.4922)


PHMSA Quarterly Newsletter is a quarterly news and information publication for the hazmat community at-large. Please submit any questions or requests to, with the subject: “PHMSA Newsletter Request.”

To view the archive of previous issues, visit:

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