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August 2004 Newsletter
News Archive
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U.S. Homeland Security -
On August 1 the U.S. Homeland Security Department raised the threat assessment level to Code ORANGE (high) for financial institutions in New York City, Newark, NJ, and Washington DC. The rest of the country remained on "YELLOW" (elevated).
The three cities involved in the orange alert have experienced traffic tie-ups due to street closures and highway, bridge, and tunnel restrictions. Vehicles, particularly trucks, are subject to inspection and possible searches. Drivers are cautioned to make sure that their paperwork is in order and that cargo is in good condition, properly marked, labeled, braced and secure.

Air Bag Inflators -
While automobile airbags save countless lives each year they have become a bloody mess for anyone who feels compelled to comply with U.S. Regulations. But, comply you must!

Air Bag Inflators, Air Bag Modules, or Seat-Belt Pretensioners, may be classed as Class 9, UN 3268, or Division 2.2 - UN 3353, provided the manufacturer has submitted each design type air bag inflator or seat-belt pretensioners to a person approved by the Associate Administrator for examination and testing. A detailed description of the device and completed package must accompany the request for the approval. Samples of the device must pass the test series 6(c) U.S. Manual of Tests and Criteria.

Or, the manufacturer can submit an approval issued by the competent authority of a foreign government to the U.S. Associate Administrator.

On the other hand, no approval applications are required for air bag modules containing an approved air bag inflator. What?????????????????

Air bag inflators or seat belt pretensioners previously reclassed from Class 1 to Division 4.1 under terms of an exemption may be reclassed as Class 9 materials without further testing.

A clarification is in order here:
When air bag inflators first appeared in the automobile industry they were classed as 1.4 explosives but under an exemption procedure were permitted to be downgraded to Division 4.1 (Flammable Solid) after further testing and exemptions (DOT-E) were issued.

EX Numbers:
The U.S. D.O.T. requires that the "EX Number" or "Product Code" must appear on the shipping papers (documentation) and "the Product Code must be traceable to the specific EX number assigned to the inflator."

Somewhere in that regulation (49CFR, 173.166), in invisible ink, no doubt, it must say that the U.S. automobile industry does not have to comply with that rule. The stock clerks or order pickers in the industry have no way of telling which product code matches up with the correct EX number. Product Code Numbers or Part Numbers are not anywhere to be found on the modules or its packaging. How do they match them up? They don't! So they simply do not comply with the "shipping paper requirement." And if they don't know, how are you supposed to know?

And, what happens when an automobile dealer wants to re-ship the airbag module or inflator after he has received the unit from UPS? The little shipping paper (red & white tag on the box) was given to the dealer but contains no EX Number. He just signed for the package but received no other information By the way, the requirement to mark the package with the EX Number was dropped in 1999. Are we to assume it was not important?

If you, an auto parts distributor or an ordinary citizen shipping a new replacement air bag module to your cousin, you probably will get caught for non-compliance and receive a pretty stiff fine. Or be thrown in jail as a terrorist for shipping an unapproved explosive. Remember, it's the shipper's responsibility to comply with all of the regulations.

We think that if DOT/RSPA has an unenforceable regulation then it should drop the rule or get the whole industry to comply with it - meaning traceable Product Codes and EX Numbers.

U.S./MEXICO Cross-Border Dangerous Goods Seminar -
The Dangerous Goods Advisory Council will conduct a two day seminar in San Antonio, Texas on October 25-26, 2004. The seminar will focus on the differences between the U.S. HAZMAT Regulations and the Mexican NOMS (Normas Para el Transporte Terrestre de Materiales y Residuous Peligrosos). The event will be held at Wyndham St. Anthony Hotel in San Antonio.
Additional information and registration forms will be available shortly on the DGAC Website - www.dgac.org

The program will cover all modes of transportation. Representatives of both governments and a large number of business entities will be in attendance. If you are experiencing delays and frustration this is your opportunity to straighten out problems on cross-border shipments in both directions. We suggest that you might want to have your Mexican or American business partners attend with you as well as a representative of your forwarder or customs broker.

Oxygen Cylinders Shipped by Air - HM-224B
The DOT/RSPA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking on May 6, 2004 that will dramatically increase the cost of shipping oxygen cylinders and other oxidizing gases and chemical oxygen generators. The RSPA Proposed requirement for an outer packaging would be required to prevent penetration of a flame of 1700°F for five minutes. Additionally the cylinder must remain below the temperature at which its pressure relief device would activate and a chemical oxygen generator inside the outer packaging can not actuate when exposed to a temperature of 400°F for three hours.
The outer packaging would be restricted to "rigid" outer packaging.

RSPA is also proposing the cylinders' pressure release device must have a set pressure equal to the test pressure for the cylinder. Authorized cylinders for oxygen will be limited to DOT specifications 3A, 3AA, 3AL, and 3HT. Other specification cylinders such as DOT 39 will not be permitted on board aircraft. Other oxidizing gases will be prohibited on board cargo and passenger aircraft.

The closing date for comments is December 13, 2004. You can download a copy of the proposed regulation at http://hazmat.dot.gov/69fr-47074.pdf


Use docket number 17664 to view public comments.

Important Dates -

September 1 and 2
Quarterly Meeting, Alexandria, VA
DGAC Members only

October 25 and 26
US/Mexico Seminar, San Antonio, TX
sponsored by DGAC - open to the public (fee)

November 17 – 19, 2004
DGAC Board and Committee Meetings
DGAC Annual Conference and Hazardous Materials Transportation Exposition, St. Louis, MO
Open to the public (fee)

March 17 and 18, 2005
DGAC Global Conference, Antwerp, Belgium
Focus on International Dangerous Goods Issues - All Modes
Open to the public (fee)

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