What is Nitric Acid? In the game of Jeopardy that would be the correct question to the answer: The chemical impacted by recent changes to D.O.T. packaging regulations. Effective July 5, 2016, nitric acid in concentrations of less than 90 percent and packaged in glass bottles must be packed in tightly-closed, non-reactive intermediate packagings and cushioned with a non-reactive absorbent material.
The new DOT ruling did not come as a surprise, as it was well known that the United Parcel Service (UPS) had petitioned the DOT to change the packaging because of four safety incidents that occurred over a six-month period. There were no deaths, but each incident involved leakage resulting in fumes before the fiberboard outer packaging caught fire. UPS believes that the current packaging requirements for ground shipments of nitric acid do not effectively address the hazards associated with nitric acid, which is classified as both a corrosive and an oxidizer.
Packaging and chemical suppliers alike have been surprised by the short amount of time to prepare before the regulation goes into effect. The final ruling was issued on June 2, 2016, with the effective date just over a month later. As a supplier of nitric acid, Puritan Products is working closely with packaging suppliers to develop an approved packaging configuration to be used with 500 mL and 2.5 L glass bottles. A timeline for the introduction of approved packaging for glass bottles has not yet been determined.
Some chemical suppliers, such as Puritan Products, also supply nitric acid in a Heavy Molecular Weight (HMW) resin bottle which is DOT approved for nitric acid in concentrations less than 90%. Click here for information about the specific nitric acid products which are packaged in the HMW resin bottle.
To read the ruling in its entirety, click here to go to the article entitled Packaging Requirements for Nitric Acid (P-1601) on the Office of the Federal Register’s website.