If I could have stalled
another couple of days we could have made this the "September/October"
Before we get back
on track concerning the hazard classifications we would remind all of
our U.S. readers that there are two very important "Registrations"
that you should be paying attention to right now.
Since this website
is dedicated to hazardous materials, the first registration you should
be concerned about is the U.S. D.O.T. Hazardous Materials Registration.
For U.S. shippers, forwarders, carriers, public warehouse operators, and
others who offer or transport hazardous materials/dangerous goods, new
rules have gone into effect this year that may cause you to register with
the D.O.T. even though you were not required to in previous years. You
can use this link to the D.O.T. if you are not presently registered -
and we urge you to double check to see if you qualify. http://hazmat.dot.gov/register.htm
Of course, the other
registration is related to voting. Make sure you are eligible to vote
then use your vote to make sure your voice is heard. Even when you vote
for the loser, the more votes that the losing candidate received does
indeed have an impact on the policy considerations of the winning candidate.
We urge all our colleagues
who will be at the HMAC meeting in Savannah on November 8-9-10 to make
sure you vote before leaving home or get an absentee ballot if you won't
be home on election day, November 7. Reminder: to secure an absentee ballot
you usually have to request it at least 30 days in advance of the election.
The HMAC Meeting.
The Hazardous Materials Advisory Council Semi-Annual Meeting is open to
members and non-members alike. As noted above, the meeting this year will
be held on November 8-10 in Savannah, Ga. This year non-members will be
permitted to observe the various HMAC Committees conduct their business.
For those of you who are not HMAC Members you will have the opportunity
to see the benefits that we all receive as a result of the conscientious
work of these hard working committee members.
The meeting this
year will focus on Risk Management, a very important topic to those of
us that are called upon in emergency situations. And for those people
who feel "what could go wrong?" or the "odds of us having
an accident are nil" we think that this will be a very enlightening
For those of you
who need recurrent Multi-Modal Hazmat training, HMAC is also offering
a two-day class on November 6-7, 2000 in conjunction with the semi-annual
And, last but certainly
not least, for all of you "wannabe Tigers", HMAC is having its
First Annual Golf Outing on November 7 at the Southbridge Golf Club in
Savannah. Quite frankly, we think this is the only reason we are having
the meeting in Savannah. Contact my fellow Irishman Sean Bellew via e-mail
(Pssst! Don't bet against Sean on any of the holes - privately, we think
he is a golf shark).
For those of you
who are not on the HMAC mailing list and desire more information about
HMAC, the meeting, or the training please go to the "LINKS"
section of our website and click on Hazardous
Materials Advisory Council - HMAC. Oh, and yes, you golfers can go
And, now, back
to our classifications.
In our April
2000 Newsletter we covered Toxic Gases (Division 2.3) and Toxic Liquids
and Solids (Division 6.1). Take this seriously. Even small exposures can
cause death or serious injury. Serious injury? Aw, come on! Unless the
container falls on you what can possibly be a "serious injury"?
Well, to begin with,
what about people that have had an exposure and end up going into a long-
term coma? Obviously they did not die instantly, or even a short while
after the exposure. Suppose there is no coma but the person cannot function
normally? Becomes disabled. That, my friends, is considered an injury.
A number of years
ago we became personally involved in a mystery. It involved three very
young children who became exposed to Agent Orange, listed as a toxic herbicide
and defoliant containing 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D. For simplicity's sake we will
identify them as Chlorophenoxy- acetic acids. The exposure was caused
by a railroad that used agent orange to clear foliage off their train
tracks. The tracks ran immediately adjacent to the yard behind their home.
The defoliant was used during the summer months while the children played
in their back yard.
As fall, and then
winter approached, one by one the children became weak and immobilized
and then drifted in an out of comas. The doctors could not determine the
cause. The parents were frantic. The hospital insurance ran out. The parents
moved to a larger home, remodeled it. They put in an elevator so the children
could be moved from one floor to another in their two-story home or outside
for a breath of fresh (?) air or to visit the doctor. There was no family
history of disability.
Our cousin, a neighbor
of this helpless family, brought up the matter to us since we were involved
with chemicals, more as a matter of conversation as opposed to finding
answers. While asking sort of probing questions, the subject of the railroad
tracks came up. We questioned the railroad and they reluctantly admitted
that they regularly sprayed the tracks in that area with agent orange.
We brought this to the attention of the family; they in turn gave it to
were initiated. We wish with all our hearts that this true story would
have a happy ending, but it doesn't. Yes, the railroad settled with a
substantial amount of money to care for these now young adults. The young
people have received in-the-home schooling and are all extremely bright.
They have their good days and their bad days. But none of the three will
ever walk or run or even perform ordinary functions again. And, our cousin
walks across the street every day to help that family.
What lesson can we
learn from this tragedy?
We frequently get
calls from truckers, airlines, and forwarders asking for us to "repack"
damaged packages of toxic solids and liquids. Usually when we arrive to
determine what, if anything, we can do, we find a "committee"
of employees surveying the damage trying to determine what they will tell
the customer, or the boss, or the regulators. All the while they are being
exposed to the dusts or vapors from the spilled toxic substance. We will
never find out how that spill affected their lives long-term. When we
witness this from a distance, we evacuate the area, try to get technical
information, and arrange for a proper clean up and disposal.
We realize this has
been one of our longest newsletters. If you are knowledgeable about division
6.1, Toxic Substances, read no further.
But, if you are not
too comfortable with recognizing dangerous goods, please read on.
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.
- Infectious Substances - we will try to make it brief.