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“Forbidden” Materials in International and Domestic Transportation

“Forbidden” Materials in International and Domestic Transportation

In an earlier article I explained how the US Department of Transportation identifies materials and substances that are forbidden from transportation in commerce within the United States.  In brief a Forbidden Material is one of the following:

  • Identified as a “Forbidden” Material at 49 CFR 173.21.
  • Categorized as “Forbidden” in column 3 of the Hazardous Materials Table.
  • Identified as “Forbidden” by a specific mode of transportation in the Hazardous Materials Table:
    • Forbidden by passenger air or rail (column 9A).
    • Forbidden by cargo air (column 9B).

In another article I explained the US DOT’s authorization of international regulations and standards for the transportation of hazardous materials (known as dangerous goods internationally) both outside and inside the US.  The authorized international regulations and standards are:

  • The International Civil Aviation Organization’s Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air (ICAO Technical Instructions).
  • The International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code).
  • Transport Canada’s Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (Transport Canada TDG Regulations).
  • The International Atomic Energy Agency Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material (IAEA Regulations).
  • And, though not referenced by the US DOT:  The International Air Transportation Association Dangerous Goods Regulations (IATA DGR).

The objective of this article is to explain your responsibility as a Shipper or Carrier if a material is determined to be Forbidden by one of these agencies and not the others.

Example 1:

A hazardous material/dangerous good is identified as Forbidden by an international agency, but not by the US DOT.

Answer:  Such a material can not be shipped according to international standards and regulations whether inside the US (domestically) or outside (internationally).  However, domestic transportation within the US in compliance with the Hazardous Material Regulations of the US DOT is allowed.

Example 2:

A hazardous material/dangerous good is identified as Forbidden in the HMR but is acceptable for transportation pursuant to one or all of the international agencies.

Answer:  Such a material is only acceptable for transportation under the international standards and regulations outside of the US, it may not be transported domestically [§171.22(e)], also (LOI 11-0252).

Example 3:

A material or substance is not designated as a hazardous material (HazMat) by the US DOT but is regulated as a dangerous good under international standards and regulations.

Answer:  The dangerous good may be transported in the US in full compliance with the applicable international transport standard or regulation [§171.22(d)], also the 3rd paragraph of LOI 12-0085).

Example 4:

A material or substance is designated as a hazardous material by the US DOT but is excepted from or not subject to international standards and regulations (ie. is not a dangerous good).

Answer:  The hazardous material must be transported in accordance with the HMR during all phases of domestic transportation.  Such a material would not be regulated in international transportation [§171.22(c)]

The transportation of hazardous materials within the US in compliance with the Hazardous Materials Regulations of the US DOT can be hard enough.  Transportation of hazardous materials/dangerous goods under international standards and regulations can make it even tougher.  Make certain your HazMat Employee Training teaches you what you need to know about the safe transportation of hazardous materials/dangerous goods.