U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
Regulations most recently checked for updates: Oct 01, 2023
(a) Applicability. Except as otherwise provided in this subchapter, the provisions of this section apply to—
(1) Bulk and non-bulk packagings;
(2) New packagings and packagings which are reused; and
(3) Specification and non-specification packagings.
(b) Each package used for the shipment of hazardous materials under this subchapter shall be designed, constructed, maintained, filled, its contents so limited, and closed, so that under conditions normally incident to transportation—
(1) Except as otherwise provided in this subchapter, there will be no identifiable (without the use of instruments) release of hazardous materials to the environment;
(2) The effectiveness of the package will not be substantially reduced; for example, impact resistance, strength, packaging compatibility, etc. must be maintained for the minimum and maximum temperatures, changes in humidity and pressure, and shocks, loadings and vibrations, normally encountered during transportation;
(3) There will be no mixture of gases or vapors in the package which could, through any credible spontaneous increase of heat or pressure, significantly reduce the effectiveness of the packaging;
(4) There will be no hazardous material residue adhering to the outside of the package during transport.
(c) Authorized packagings. (1) A packaging is authorized for a hazardous material only if—
(i) The packaging is prescribed or permitted for the hazardous material in a packaging section specified for that material in Column 8 of the § 172.101 table and conforms to applicable requirements in the special provisions of Column 7 of the § 172.101 table and, for specification packagings (but not including UN standard packagings manufactured outside the United States), the specification requirements in parts 178 and 179 of this subchapter; or
(ii) The packaging is permitted under, and conforms to, provisions contained in subparts B or C of part 171 of this subchapter or § 173.3, § 173.4, § 173.4a, § 173.4b, § 173.5, § 173.5a, § 173.6, § 173.7, § 173.8, § 173.27, or § 176.11 of this subchapter.
(2) The use of supplementary packagings within an outer packaging (e.g., an intermediate packaging or a receptacle inside a required inner packaging) additional to what is required by this subchapter is authorized provided all applicable requirements of this subchapter are met and, when necessary, suitable cushioning is used to prevent shifting within the packaging.
(d) Specification packagings and UN standard packagings manufactured outside the U.S.—(1) Specification packagings. A specification packaging, including a UN standard packaging manufactured in the United States, must conform in all details to the applicable specification or standard in part 178 or part 179 of this subchapter.
(2) UN standard packagings manufactured outside the United States. A UN standard packaging manufactured outside the United States, in accordance with national or international regulations based on the UN Recommendations (IBR, see § 171.7 of this subchapter), may be imported and used and is considered to be an authorized packaging under the provisions of paragraph (c)(1) of this section, subject to the following conditions and limitations:
(i) The packaging fully conforms to applicable provisions in the UN Recommendations and the requirements of this subpart, including reuse provisions;
(ii) The packaging is capable of passing the prescribed tests in part 178 of this subchapter applicable to that standard; and
(iii) The competent authority of the country of manufacture provides reciprocal treatment for UN standard packagings manufactured in the U.S.
(e) Compatibility. (1) Even though certain packagings are specified in this part, it is, nevertheless, the responsibility of the person offering a hazardous material for transportation to ensure that such packagings are compatible with their lading. This particularly applies to corrosivity, permeability, softening, premature aging and embrittlement.
(2) Packaging materials and contents must be such that there will be no significant chemical or galvanic reaction between the materials and contents of the package.
(3) Plastic packagings and receptacles. (i) Plastic used in packagings and receptacles must be of a type compatible with the lading and may not be permeable to an extent that a hazardous condition is likely to occur during transportation, handling or refilling.
(ii) Each plastic packaging or receptacle which is used for liquid hazardous materials must be capable of withstanding without failure the procedure specified in appendix B of this part (“Procedure for Testing Chemical Compatibility and Rate of Permeation in Plastic Packagings and Receptacles”). The procedure specified in appendix B of this part must be performed on each plastic packaging or receptacle used for Packing Group I materials. The maximum rate of permeation of hazardous lading through or into the plastic packaging or receptacles may not exceed 0.5 percent for materials meeting the definition of a Division 6.1 material according to § 173.132 and 2.0 percent for other hazardous materials, when subjected to a temperature no lower than—
(A) 18 °C (64 °F) for 180 days in accordance with Test Method 1 in appendix B of this part;
(B) 50 °C (122 °F) for 28 days in accordance with Test Method 2 in appendix B of this part; or
(C) 60 °C (140 °F) for 14 days in accordance with Test Method 3 in appendix B of this part.
(iii) Alternative procedures or rates of permeation are permitted if they yield a level of safety equivalent to or greater than that provided by paragraph (e)(3)(ii) of this section and are specifically approved by the Associate Administrator.
(4) Mixed contents. Hazardous materials may not be packed or mixed together in the same outer packaging with other hazardous or nonhazardous materials if such materials are capable of reacting dangerously with each other and causing—
(i) Combustion or dangerous evolution of heat;
(ii) Evolution of flammable, poisonous, or asphyxiant gases; or
(iii) Formation of unstable or corrosive materials.
(5) Packagings used for solids, which may become liquid at temperatures likely to be encountered during transportation, must be capable of containing the hazardous material in the liquid state.
(f) Closures. (1) Closures on packagings shall be so designed and closed that under conditions (including the effects of temperature, pressure and vibration) normally incident to transportation—
(i) Except as provided in paragraph (g) of this section, there is no identifiable release of hazardous materials to the environment from the opening to which the closure is applied; and
(ii) The closure is leakproof and secured against loosening. For air transport, stoppers, corks or other such friction closures must be held in place by positive means.
(2) Except as otherwise provided in this subchapter, a closure (including gaskets or other closure components, if any) used on a specification packaging must conform to all applicable requirements of the specification and must be closed in accordance with information, as applicable, provided by the manufacturer's notification required by § 178.2 of this subchapter.
(g) Venting. Venting of packagings, to reduce internal pressure which may develop by the evolution of gas from the contents, is permitted only when—
(1) Except for shipments of cryogenic liquids as specified in § 173.320(c) and of carbon dioxide, solid (dry ice), transportation by aircraft is not involved;
(2) Except as otherwise provided in this subchapter, the evolved gases are not poisonous, likely to create a flammable mixture with air or be an asphyxiant under normal conditions of transportation;
(3) The packaging is designed so as to preclude an unintentional release of hazardous materials from the receptacle;
(4) For bulk packagings, other than IBCs, venting is authorized for the specific hazardous material by a special provision in the § 172.101 table or by the applicable bulk packaging specification in part 178 of this subchapter; and
(5) Intermediate bulk packagings (IBCs) may be vented when required to reduce internal pressure that may develop by the evolution of gas subject to the requirements of paragraphs (g)(1) through (g)(3) of this section. The IBC must be of a type that has successfully passed (with the vent in place) the applicable design qualification tests with no release of hazardous material.
(h) Outage and filling limits—(1) General. When filling packagings and receptacles for liquids, sufficient ullage (outage) must be left to ensure that neither leakage nor permanent distortion of the packaging or receptacle will occur as a result of an expansion of the liquid caused by temperatures likely to be encountered during transportation. Requirements for outage and filling limits for non-bulk and bulk packagings are specified in §§ 173.24a(d) and 173.24b(a), respectively.
(2) Compressed gases and cryogenic liquids. Filling limits for compressed gases and cryogenic liquids are specified in §§ 173.301 through 173.306 for cylinders and §§ 173.314 through 173.319 for bulk packagings.
(i) Air transportation. Except as provided in subpart C of part 171 of this subchapter, packages prepared under § 173.167 of this part, or packages prepared under Packing Instruction Y963 of the ICAO Technical Instructions, packages offered or intended for transportation by aircraft must conform to the general requirements for transportation by aircraft in § 173.27.