This July 4th, why should Class 1 Explosives get all the attention?


July 4th is coming, and one hazmat class will once again monopolize the nation’s attention—Class 1 explosives.

Sure, we all ooh and aah at our local fireworks displays. Many of us may even responsibly deploy firecrackers and mini-rockets during private celebrations. (It’s safe to say the bozos captured in videos like this one are not Dangerous Goods professionals. Not even in the same gene pool.) Heck, FMCSA even passes annual shipping exceptions for the American Pyrotechnics Association, so fireworks can get to their destinations on time.

But the other eight hazmat classes all play a role in celebrating our independence, too. This July 4th, don’t forget about:

Class 2 Gasses: Half of all backyard barbecues rely on propane (2.1, UN1978) to get their brats and burgers charred just right. It’s probably a good idea to have a fire extinguisher (2.2, UN1044) handy. And how are you going to stay cool without refrigerant gasses (2.1, NA1954) in your air conditioning, or cold beer from your refrigerator (2.2, UN2857)?

Class 3 Flammable Liquids: The other half of American July 4th barbecues get started with charcoal lighter fluid, a.k.a. methanol (UN1230). And let’s not forget everyone’s favorite flammable liquid, alcohol (UN1986).

Class 4 Flammable Solids: Purists will only grill their burgers and brats over charcoal briquettes (4.2, NA1361) lit with strike-anywhere matches (4.1, UN1331).

Class 5 Oxidizers: Does someone you know favor a blonde look for July 4th celebrations? They might obtain it with a solution of hydrogen peroxide (5.1, UN2014). And your lawn might not look so luscious and green without that ammonium nitrate based fertilizer (5.1, UN2067).

Class 6 Poisons: Speaking of your magnificent lawn, maybe you took care of those weeds with a herbicide containing triazine (6.1, UN2998). And you probably sprayed yourself with liberal amounts of DEET-based mosquito repellant containing N, N-Diethylaniline (6.1, UN2432).

Class 7 Radioactives: Say it’s raining, so you take your brats and burgers inside to broil. Say the smoke causes your smoke detector to go off. That smoke detector is actually a Class 7 Radioactive. You might also consider your neighbor who won’t shut up about school redistricting to be radioactive, but neither the US Department of Transportation nor the UN are likely to issue an official rule as such.

Class 8 Corrosives: After the barbecue, you might scrub your grill with a grill cleaner containing lye, a.k.a. sodium hydroxide (UN1824). And if you had a particularly rowdy 4th, you might need toilet bowl cleaner containing hydrochloric acid (UN1789).

Class 9 Miscellaneous: From the dry ice (UN1845) your fancy steaks came packed in to the lithium batteries (UN3090) powering the kids’ phones while they shot video of the fireworks, any number of Class 9 Dangerous Goods may have star-spangled your July 4th celebration.

See? All nine classes get in on the July 4th fun. Just make sure you keep that radioactive neighbor from drinking too much Class 3, or you’ll have nightmares about school redistricting.

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One Comment;

  1. Desmond WAIGHT said:

    Your blog re 4th July says “Class 3 Flammable Liquids: The other half of American July 4th barbecues get started with charcoal lighter fluid, a.k.a. methanol (UN1230). And let’s not forget everyone’s favorite flammable liquid, alcohol (UN1986).”

    Surely the reference should have been to UN3065 ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES or if referring to the prime constituent to UN1170 ETHANOL (or ETHYL ALCOHOL)

    UN1986 could be other alcohols that probably shouldn’t be consumed


    Desmond Waight

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