What does one do when the need to ship something outside the realm of “ordinary” arises?
Last month I had to ship a couple of small bottles of bromine for a client. It was more involved than I originally expected. Before even getting close to the bottle, I wanted to know what was so bad about it. Why is bromine hazardous?
I read through the MSDS to get an idea of what I was about to work with. This shipment was going by ocean so I also had a look at the IMDG code. According to IMDG, it has an extremely irritating odour, is a powerful oxidant, and is highly corrosive to most metals. Also, it is toxic if swallowed, by skin contact or by inhalation. Furthermore, it can cause burns to skin, eyes and mucous membranes. To say the least, it is pretty nasty stuff.
Here is the classification:
UN 1744, BROMINE, CLASS 8(6.1), PG I
As you can see, it is Packing Group I material. I went to IMDG packing instruction P804 to see what was required for packaging and found that it read completely different than the normal P001 and P002 that one frequently sees. This instruction lists four possible ways that this material can be packaged, all varying depending on what type of inner package is used to contain the actual liquid. To give you an idea, Part 1 refers to using glass inners, Part 2 refers to using metal or polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) inners, Part 3 refers to using drums or composite packaging(s), and Part 4 talks about using pressure receptacles. This long set of instructions actually became quite simple when I learned that the bromine was being shipped in 0.5 L glass bottles.