PHMSA drops expiration dates from Hazmat classification rule
Sep 8, 2010 12:45 PM
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration (PHMSA) announced that it plans to eliminate expiration dates for classification approvals because the policy has had unanticipated effects since its implementation. A wide range of hazardous materials were covered under the previous rule. The rule change took effect September 7.
In 2005, PHMSA initiated a policy imposing a five-year expiration date on firework classification approvals to ensure that background information supporting the approval is current and applicable, information is up-to-date and complete, obsolete approvals are eliminated from the PHMSA database, and approvals are amended with new requirements and/or methods as necessary.
In 2009, the Obama Administration changed the program to include all types of classification approvals, including explosives, oxidizing substances, organic peroxide materials and self-reactive substances. This reportedly created a number of problems, according to PHMSA officials.
For instance, explosives assigned EX numbers, and self-reactive materials and organic peroxide materials, assigned CA numbers, have a shelf life far beyond the five-year expiration date. Consequently, a product shipped in accordance with a classification approval with a five-year expiration date becomes ineligible for domestic transport on the date the approval expires despite the product continuing to be safe for transport.
Existing classification approvals with expiration dates will be reissued by PHMSA in accordance with the change of policy. While expiration dates for classification approvals will be eliminated, PHMSA retains the authority to issue approvals with expiration dates on a case-by-case basis.
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