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Facts at your Fingertips: UN Codes for Packaging Dangerous Goods

By Scott Jenkins, Chemical Engineering magazine |

Shipping and transport of chemicals require specialized packaging to mitigate the hazards that the chemicals may present. Only packages that are certified to have met testing standards issued by the United Nations (UN) Economic and Social Council (New York, N.Y.; www.un.org) can be used to transport dangerous goods, which include most chemicals. The UN has developed a code system for classifying packaging and containers for dangerous materials. This one-page reference explains the UN packaging code designations and provides information on the categories for each. UN codes All packages and containers manufactured to be “UN-approved” for holiding potentially dangerous materials are marked with a code that indicates the properties of the container and the physical nature of the product it contains. The UN packaging codes begin with a either a capital “UN” or symbol with a lowercase “u” above a lowercase “n” inside a circle (Figure 1). The codes consist of a series of numbers and letters usually stamped into metal or plastic drums and intermediate bulk containers (IBCs), and are printed on boxes and bags. Packages without the UN certification mark should not be used for dangerous goods. Figure 1. Each position in the…
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