How to Determine the Proper Shipping Name for Hazardous Materials [49 CFR 172.101(c)]

June 21, 2018
The proper shipping name is the key to determine how packages for hazardous materials are selected, marked, and labeled; the vehicle is correctly placarded; and the shipment is correctly documented.
According to 49 CFR 172.101(c)(12), you must assign a proper shipping name that corresponds with the hazards of the material shipped. To select a proper shipping name, refer to column 2 of the hazardous materials table at 49 CFR 172.101 and look for a shipping name that most specifically corresponds to the material to be shipped. Use the following hierarchy to determine the most specific shipping name:
  1. If the name of the chemical (e.g., Acetone) is listed, use the chemical name. If it's a mixture of more than one chemical, you might find the mixture listed by chemical names on the table, but this is rare, so you’ll probably need to move on to one of the less specific names listed in the steps below.
  2. If there is not a chemical name listed, look for an end use name such as, Coating solution, Adhesive, or Paint.
  3. If a chemical name or end use name is not available, if the chemical (or all of the chemicals) are in the same chemical family, you can use a chemical family name, such as Alcohols, n.o.s. or Ketones, n,o.s.
  4. If a shipping name cannot be determined in the first three steps, select a name based on the hazard class (or hazard classes) of the material, such as Flammable liquids, n.o.s. or Corrosive solids, toxic, n.o.s. If the material is in Class 9, which indicates that it's a miscellaneous hazard that is not in Classes 1–8, the shipping name will be Environmentally hazardous substance, n.o.s., unless it's a hazardous waste, in which case it will be Hazardous waste, liquid (or solid), n.o.s.
In most cases, it’s critical that the shipping name you select does correspond to the hazard class that’s listed in column 3 of the hazardous materials table. For example, Paint has two listings, one of which is flammable, and the other is corrosive. But what if the paint in the shipment isn’t flammable or corrosive, but it is toxic? In this case, you could not use the shipping name Paint, and would need to use a less descriptive shipping name, such as Toxic liquid, n.o.s. However, for proper shipping names with a “+” in column 1 of the hazardous materials table, according to 49 CFR 172.101(b)(1), you must use that name even if the material does not have the hazards assigned to the listed proper shipping name.