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These pages offer guidance on DOT transportation regulations regarding hazardous materials. Keep in mind that the definition of "hazardous material" under DOT can be different from the EPA's definitions of "hazardous waste" under RCRA, or "hazardous substance" under CERCLA/SARA, and OSHA definitions.
For the past decade, government and hazardous materials industry officials have used an estimate of more than 500,000 daily shipments to characterize hazmat traffic in the U.S. and, implicitly, a level of risk to the transport community and general public. Because of growth in the hazmat sector, as well as in the overall U.S. economy, along with changes in national and global distribution practices, research has been undertaken by the US DOT to evaluate and update current hazmat traffic levels. Hazardous materials traffic levels in the U.S. now exceed 800,000 shipments per day and result in the transport of more than 3.1 billion tons of hazardous materials annually.
There is quite a variety of often complex regulations to manage these shipments. Most of these regulations appear in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 49 (49 CFR). If you are about to ship a package that you suspect may contain a compound or article that could be toxic, flammable, shock-sensitive, cause fires to start, release gas, be under pressure, be corrosive, etc,; then you'd better read our How to Comply pages for detailed information on hazardous materials regulations, and the requirements for packaging, labeling and shipping hazardous materials (also called hazmats).
This page was updated on 19-Jan-2020