Roberts to become President of the HMAC
I. Roberts, the recently retired Associate Director of the Department
of Transportation's Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA)
will become the new President of the Hazardous Materials Advisory Council
(HMAC) effective April 17, 2000.
Mr. Roberts was responsible
for bringing 49CFR into harmonization with the United Nations Recommendations
for the safe transportation of dangerous goods (hazardous materials).
Eventually the U.N. Recommendations end up as the International Civil
Aviation Organization's (ICAO) Technical Instructions and the International
Maritime Organization's (IMO) Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG).
HMAC is an international
organization with membership that includes chemical and explosive manufacturers,
distributors, carriers from all modes of transportation, packing companies,
training organizations, consultants, and emergency responders.
R-A Specialists has
been an active and proud member of HMAC for over 10 years. If you would
like further information about HMAC you can use our "Industry Links"
section of this website or www.hmac.org.
important issues for April 2000.
Continuing with our
attempts to educate shippers, forwarders, and airline employees about
the hazard classification system we would like to address Toxic Substances
also known for many years as poisons.
Class 2, dealing
with gases that are compressed, liquefied, deeply refrigerated, and absorbed
in a solid or liquid (such as aerosols) includes Toxic Gases in Division
We would point out
that toxic gases (poison gases) are indeed exactly what the name implies,
i.e., causes death immediately after a very small exposure. The main route
of exposure is inhalation but absorption through the skin, known as dermal
toxicity, is not uncommon.
As with all gases,
Toxic Gases (2.3) have another, less obvious, hazard related to the gas
being under pressure in a cylinder. This other hazard is that the cylinder
itself, if mishandled or corroded or damaged in transit can burst apart
into little pieces similar to a hand grenade, commonly referred to as
fragmentation, or slowly leak through a damaged valve or corroded sidewall.
For this reason countries throughout the world have set up very strict
requirements concerning the construction, filling, re-filling, and handling
of cylinders. In the United States two types of inspections are required
by the regulations - a visual inspection after filling the cylinder and
a periodic test procedure which includes hydrostatic testing usually every
Liquids and solids
that are toxic are included in class 6, division 6.1. Toxic Substances
in Division 6.1 can cause death by ingestion (oral toxicity), absorption
through the outer layers of the skin (dermal toxicity), as well as by
inhalation of the dusts, mists, or vapors from the material.
Division 6.1 uses
packing group numbers to identify the degree of danger. Packing Group
I represents those chemicals that are extremely dangerous and a very small
exposure is likely to cause death. Packing Group II identifies toxic substances
that are considered a "medium" danger, and includes toxic chemicals
such as cyanide and arsenic. Packing Group III represents a "minor"
danger where it usually takes a larger exposure to cause death (but smaller
exposures often cause violent illness or the destruction of vital organs
such as kidneys or liver or lungs or heart.
Toxic Gases (2.3)
and Toxic Substances that are liquids or solids (6.1) that are toxic by
inhalation require special markings on the packages when transported within
the United States. These markings include "Poison Inhalation Hazard"
(PIH) and a reference to "Hazard Zone A" or "B" or
"C" or "D" as appropriate. The reference to the hazard
zones must be included on the dangerous goods declaration in conjunction
with the basic description.
Importers into the
United States should review the special requirements for toxic substances
with their foreign shippers. U.S. Transportation law holds both the importer
and the broker responsible for compliance with these regulations prior
to shipping to the U.S.A.
by highway within the United States any amount of a Division 2.3 or a
Division 6.1 Packing Group I that is toxic by inhalation requires placards.
A large number of
toxic substances are also "known carcinogens" that can cause
various types of cancer, usually many years after an initial small exposure.