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May 17, 2021

Welcome to solocast episode 7 of Fire Code Tech. In this episode we are talking about the codes and standards around hazardous materials. This is the first of several episodes about hazardous materials so we are starting with the basics.  

  • What are the codes and standards around hazardous materials?
  • What is a hazardous material?
  • What are some of the different types of hazardous materials?



Hello. Welcome to the solo cast of fire code tech in these episodes. It's just gonna be me, your host, Gus Gagliardi. There's gonna be a range of topics, but I'm gonna talk about specific technologies, installation, standards, codes, and how they work as well as some other interesting topics that don't neatly fit inside of the context of a normal interview.

Welcome to. Episode seven of the fire code tech solo casts on this episode of fire code tech, we have hazardous materials. So this has been a topic that's been on my mind. Uh, just due to a bunch of project work. Recently, I really started getting into hazardous materials. In life safety analysis involved with hazardous materials about a year ago, um, had a project with a significant amount of hazardous materials in the form of, uh, explosives for military project.

And so yeah. Had to figure it out quickly. It was just RFP at the time, but. Um, still had a lot of implications for life safety and, um, code analysis. Yeah. Started really diving into this topic about a year ago and, and, uh, and the project work and the just, um, every day problem solving associated with hazardous materials has not stopped SIDS.

I'm going to break down the basics of hazardous materials. My goal is to bring a more structured approach to it. So, um, let me know if you enjoyed this, um, more concise, uh, thought out solo cast. Don't forget that if you enjoyed these solo cast and you want to hear more of these episodes, these solo cast, where I break down specific topics that I release an extra two of these a month for just the price of a cup of coffee.

You can check that out at code tech. Let's dive right in. So I'll try to start off where I frequently start off, which is what are the codes and standards surrounding hazardous materials. Once again, we are looking at these, um, this issue or this topic through the lens of how things work in the United States.

And of course, this is not, uh, ubiquitous. Of course, there are obvious exceptions in, um, jurisdictions that adopt different codes and standards or have different provisions. So, but by and large, um, this is how things predominantly operate in the United States. All that to say, we will be looking at hazardous materials with the international building code and the international fire code, um, which is, uh, traditionally how I assess these topics.

This is how mostly it's done in the us. Um, but yeah, that's the first preface that we're using the international building code for the purpose of this video. I'm looking at, what's adopted in Oklahoma, which is 2015. And so just wanted to start off with the codes and standards around it, because it's very important to understand, um, the hierarchy of where you find your requirements.

So, um, Another really good place to look when you're thinking about codes and standards for hazardous materials is NFPA 7 0 4, NFPA 7 0 4 is the standard system for the identification of hazardous materials for emergency response. And so you can think of, uh, the two systems for how to deal with hazardous materials like this there's um, how we deal with hazards and materials when they're in T.

And how we deal with hazardous materials when they are in side of a building in a storage capacity, in a, in a use in a system capacity. And so there's kind of two approaches. Well, NFPA 7 0 4 is predominantly, um, in association with the, uh, transportation capacity, but it does overlap with how we address these hazards in the building as well.

Um, for instance, if you look at, uh, toxic substances, there's a lot of good guidance and in FPA 7 0 4 with, um, how you identify these, um, substances and you know, what criteria you use. So they kind of go hand in hand in glove, if you will. So quick recap in FPA 7 0 4. And international building code and international fire code are typically the majority of the codes and standards that you use when you're assessing hazardous materials.

Just wanted to recap that before we go into our next subject, which is what is a hazardous material. So the building code in chapter three, defines a hazardous material as those chemicals or substances that are physical or health hazards as classified in section 3 0 7 in the international fire code.

Whether the materials are in usable or waste condition. So this is a great definition. So it kind of breaks down the hazardous materials into two types of hazards. And we'll break down these two hazards, physical hazards and health hazards. So the majority of hazardous materials, um, category wise are in physical hazards, but.

Health hazards also have some serious, um, fire and life safety implications. So basically this says, uh, where the substances that the building code lists as hazardous materials are, what's considered hazardous materials. So that's a little bit circuitous, but. Uh, the general sense of it is, Hey, we've identified some substances that are hazardous materials.

And so, um, if you have those substances that are listed in this code and stated as hazardous materials, uh, this is how you start to address them. So let's talk about the different types of hazardous materials to follow up, how we define. What a hazardous materials is, is we take a look at the code that is driving our assessment of hazardous materials and look at the definition within that code, how they define hazardous materials.

So in this case, we're looking at the international building code and. We're looking in the definitions in chapter two, to see how they define hazardous materials. And I've stated how they define hazardous materials. And so the next step would be to take a look at, you know, what are the different types or categories of hazardous materials.

So like we previously mentioned there's physical and there's health hazards. So I want to go over a couple, not all of these different categories of hazardous material. So for this next exercise, we'll be flipping kind of back and forth between. Chapter two and chapter three in the international building code.

So if you look at the specific categories and, and how it's most easily, uh, to, you know, take a look at all of 'em this in chapter three, but if you want to know the specific definitions of how you define these hazardous materials, You can look in chapter two. So if I want to tell you that a health hazard is a toxic material, a corrosive material, or a highly toxic material, then you can take a look at the table in chapter three, which is table 3 0 7 0.1, parenthesis two.

Um, and here you'll find the maximum allowable quantities of. Um, these health hazards materials. Um, and so this is kind of the, uh, broad overview and a good place to look at because this is, you know, the next step of our journey, but not to, you know, brush past this step that we're here on here now. So all that to say, so we have Corsis corrosives, um, toxic and highly toxic.

So you might ask yourself, uh, what's the difference between toxic and highly toxic? Well, in the definitions chapter, they stated explicitly, but, um, this is one of those instances where I was telling you that N FPA 7 0 4. Was the great place to lean on because they very, uh, more definitively defined toxic and highly toxic.

So a toxic material is, uh, chemical falling. within any of these characteristics. And so what the definition in chapter two for toxic goes to do is to describe, um, what parameters of lethal dosage amount or lethal concentration amount that, uh, you would consider. Something a toxic material. So in case you don't know what LD 50 S or LC 50 S are, this is a toxicology term.

That means a median lethal dose or median lethal concentration. So generally these are lab studies where they take a substance and they admit a, you know, that substance to an animal in some, uh, tested population amount. Um, at different concentrations and different ranges of concentrations. And then, uh, they have a, uh, basically, uh, an average of the, the lethal dosage or lethal amount of this substance.

And so where you would find this information about a material is in, uh, material safety, data sheet, material, safety, data sheet, or, uh, safety data sheet, SDS and MSDS. These are oftenly, uh, used interchangeably. So one of the first parameters in toxic is a chemical that has a median lethal dosage of, or LD 50 of 50 milligrams per kilogram, but not more than 500 milligrams per kilogram of body weight.

When. Then this is important when you're looking at these, how is it given, um, in this case, in this first, uh, note it's administered orally and it specifically references albino, rats and how much they weigh. So, uh, this is, uh, you know, it's a complicated thing to look at. Um, generally in the STS or MSDS, they'll say what the animal it's adminis.

uh, two, and these are kind of standardized tests, but you have to be very careful when you're looking at these numbers, cuz it's not apples to a, to apples if it's, uh, rabbits and, and rats. Um, and so you have to be careful when you're looking at these. So the LD 50 of a toxic material is, uh, more than 50, but not more than 500, um, for a rat way.

Uh, between 200 and 300 grams and then a highly toxic material is, uh, has a median lethal dose or an LD 50 of 50 milligrams or less per kilogram of body weight. Um, and this is again, orally for a rat weighing 200 to 300 grams. And so you can see that, uh, 50 milligrams per kilogram is the threshold in which you cross over into a highly toxic material.

Uh, why is this important? We're gonna get to maximum allowable quantities, but, uh, there you have a significantly less allotment of hazardous materials. Um, when you go into highly toxic materials. So this ends the first episode in hazardous materials. Uh, yeah, so it's not a great place to end, but there's obviously so much here.

And you can see why I would want to talk about it because we didn't even get to H occupancies control areas or any of these other topics to assess the building components and what you need to do when you know, you have hazardous materials, but, uh, I don't wanna belabor the point. I'm still trying to figure out how to capture these large topics in a digestible.

But also in a entertaining way, um, for you to hear about these and to enjoy and to listen and to learn. And so, uh, thanks for coming along on the ride with me while I figured this thing out. But yeah, if you want to hear more about hazardous materials, I'm gonna release another episode on Patreon, diving into hazardous materials, but I hope you enjoyed and I hope you tune in again.

Um, thanks so much for listening. Thanks for listening everybody. Be sure to share the episode with a friend, if you enjoyed it, don't forget that fire protection and life safety is serious business. The views and opinions expressed on this podcast are by no means a professional consultation or a codes and standards interpretation.

Be sure to contact a licensed professional. If you are getting involved with fire protection and or life safety. Thanks again. And we'll see you next time.