Chapter 2.8


Class 8 - Corrosive substances

2.8.1
Definition and properties
2.8.1.1

Definition

Class 8 substances (corrosive substances) means substances which, by chemical action, will cause severe damage when in contact with living tissue or, in the case of leakage, will materially damage, or even destroy, other goods or the means of transport.

2.8.1.2
Properties
2.8.1.2.1
In cases where particularly severe personal damage is to be expected, a note to that effect is made in the Dangerous Goods List in chapter 3.2 in the wording "causes (severe) burns to skin, eyes and mucous membranes".
2.8.1.2.2
Many substances are sufficiently volatile to evolve vapour irritating to the nose and eyes. If so, this fact is mentioned in the Dangerous Goods List in chapter 3.2 in the wording "vapour irritates mucous membranes".
2.8.1.2.3
A few substances may produce toxic gases when decomposed by very high temperatures. In these cases the statement "when involved in a fire, evolves toxic gases" appears in the Dangerous Goods List in chapter 3.2.
2.8.1.2.4
In addition to direct destructive action in contact with skin or mucous membranes, some substances in this class are toxic or harmful. Poisoning may result if they are swallowed, or if their vapour is inhaled; some of them even may penetrate the skin. Where appropriate, a statement is made to that effect in the Dangerous Goods List in chapter 3.2.
2.8.1.2.5
All substances in this class have a more or less destructive effect on materials such as metals and textiles.
2.8.1.2.5.1
In the Dangerous Goods List, the term "corrosive to most metals" means that any metal likely to be present in a ship, or in its cargo, may be attacked by the substance or its vapour.
2.8.1.2.5.2
The term "corrosive to aluminium, zinc, and tin" implies that iron or steel is not damaged in contact with the substance.
2.8.1.2.5.3
A few substances in this class can corrode glass, earthenware and other siliceous materials. Where appropriate, this is stated in the Dangerous Goods List in chapter 3.2.
2.8.1.2.6
Many substances in this class only become corrosive after having reacted with water, or with moisture in the air. This fact is indicated in the Dangerous Goods List in chapter 3.2 by the words "in the presence of moisture...". The reaction of water with many substances is accompanied by the liberation of irritating and corrosive gases. Such gases usually become visible as fumes in the air.
2.8.1.2.7
A few substances in this class generate heat in reaction with water or organic materials, including wood, paper, fibres, some cushioning materials and certain fats and oils. Where appropriate this is indicated in the Dangerous Goods List in chapter 3.2.
2.8.1.2.8
A substance which is designated as "stabilized" shall not be transported in the unstabilized state.
2.8.2
Assignment of packing groups
2.8.2.1

Substances and preparations of class 8 are divided among the three packing groups according to their degree of hazard in transport as follows:

Packing group I: Very dangerous substances and preparations;

Packing group II: Substances and preparations presenting medium danger;

Packing group III: Substances and preparations presenting minor danger.

The packing group to which a substance has been assigned is given in the Dangerous Goods List in chapter 3.2.

2.8.2.2
Allocation of substances listed in the Dangerous Goods List in chapter 3.2 to the packing groups in class 8 has been on the basis of experience, taking into account such additional factors as inhalation risk (see 2.8.2.3) and reactivity with water (including the formation of dangerous decomposition products). New substances, including mixtures, can be assigned to packing groups on the basis of the length of time of contact necessary to produce full thickness destruction of human skin in accordance with the criteria in 2.8.2.5. Liquids, and solids which may become liquid during transport, which are judged not to cause full thickness destruction of human skin shall still be considered for their potential to cause corrosion in certain metal surfaces in accordance with the criteria in 2.8.2.5.3.2.
2.8.2.3
A substance or preparation meeting the criteria of class 8 and having an inhalation toxicity of dusts and mists (LC50) in the range of packing group I, but toxicity through oral ingestion or dermal contact only in the range of packing group III or less, shall be allocated to class 8 (see note under 2.6.2.2.4.1).
2.8.2.4
In assigning the packing group to a substance in accordance with 2.8.2.2, account shall be taken of human experience in instances of accidental exposure. In the absence of human experience, the grouping shall be based on data obtained from experiments in accordance with OECD Test Guideline 4041 or 4352. A substance which is determined not to be corrosive in accordance with OECD Test Guideline 4303 or 4314 may be considered not to be corrosive to skin for the purposes of this Code without further testing.
2.8.2.5

Packing groups are assigned to corrosive substances in accordance with the following criteria:

  1. Packing group I is assigned to substances that cause full thickness destruction of intact skin tissue within an observation period of up to 60 minutes starting after an exposure time of 3 minutes or less.

  2. Packing group II is assigned to substances that cause full thickness destruction of intact skin tissue within an observation period of up to 14 days starting after an exposure time of more than 3 but not more than 60 minutes.

  3. Packing group III is assigned to substances that:

    1. cause full thickness destruction of intact skin tissue within an observation period of up to 14 days starting after an exposure time of more than 60 minutes but not more than 4 hours; or

    2. are judged not to cause full thickness destruction of intact skin tissue but which exhibit a corrosion rate on either steel or aluminium surfaces exceeding 6.25 mm a year at a test temperature of 55°C when tested on both materials. For the purposes of testing steel, type S235JR+CR (1.0037 resp. St 37-2), S275J2G3+CR (1.0144 resp. St 44-3), ISO 3574:1999, Unified Numbering System (UNS) G10200 or SAE 1020, and for testing aluminium, non-clad, types 7075-T6 or AZ5GU T6 shall be used. An acceptable test is prescribed in the Manual of Tests and Criteria, part III, section 37.

Note: Where an initial test on either steel or aluminium indicates the substance being tested is corrosive, the follow-up test on the other metal is not required.

Table 2.8.2.5 - Table summarizing the criteria in 2.8.2.5
Packing group Exposure time Observation period Effect
I ≤ 3 min ≤ 60 min Full thickness destruction of intact skin
II > 3 min ≤ 1 h ≤ 14 d Full thickness destruction of intact skin
III > 1 h ≤ 4 h ≤ 14 d Full thickness destruction of intact skin
III - - Corrosion rate on either steel or aluminium surfaces exceeding 6.25 mm a year at a test temperature of 55ºC when tested on both materials
2.8.3

Substances not accepted for transport

Chemically unstable substances of class 8 shall not be accepted for transport unless the necessary precautions have been taken to prevent the possibility of a dangerous decomposition or polymerization under normal conditions of transport. For the precautions necessary to prevent polymerization, see special provision 386 of chapter 3.3. To this end particular care shall be taken to ensure that receptacles and tanks do not contain any substances liable to promote these reactions.

Chapter 2.7

Chapter 2.9


  1. OECD Guideline for the testing of chemicals No. 404, "Acute Dermal Irritation/Corrosion" 2002.

  2. OECD Guideline for the testing of chemicals No. 435, "In Vitro Membrane Barrier Test Method for Skin Corrosion" 2006.

  3. OECD Guideline for the testing of chemicals No. 430, "In Vitro Skin Corrosion: Transcutaneous Electrical Resistance Test (TER)" 2004.

  4. OECD Guideline for the testing of chemicals No. 431, "In Vitro Skin Corrosion: Human Skin Model Test" 2004.