Keywords: ammonium nitrate based fertiliser, classification schemes, UN transport, security, precursors.
Classification of chemical products in various hazard categories is essential for developing suitable legislation and systems to protect personnel, property and the environment. In the European Union three main types of commercial or industrial activities are considered for hazard classification for the above purpose: manufacturing and storage as regards major accident hazards, supply to downstream users, and transport; each one with its distinct classification scheme. They are implemented by appropriate legislation e.g. Seveso Directive, REACH and CLP Regulations and United Nations (UN) transport recommendations or model regulations. The applicable classification schemes are summarised. The history of changes in the UN transport recommendations relating to ammonium nitrate based fertilisers in the last twenty years or so are traced and short-comings of the current scheme are described. The latest set of amendments approved by the relevant UN body are discussed and the main provisions summarised.
Security in relation to the misuse of chemical products by terrorists has become a major challenge for the regulatory authorities and industry in many countries across the world. Ammonium nitrate based fertilisers and other products have been successfully used as precursors to make improvised explosive devices. An action plan was prepared in 2008 by the EU for controlling explosives and a Standing Committee on Precursors was established. New legislation was put in place to restrict marketing of fertilisers that contain 16% or more by weight of nitrogen in relation to ammonium nitrate and to impose a mandatory requirement for reporting of suspicious transactions, disappearances and thefts of these fertilisers and a number of other listed precursors.
K D Shah MBE and A Hoxha, Fertilizers Europe,Van Nieuwenhuyse 6, Brussels, Belgium
20 pages, 3 figures, 1 table, 3 appendices, 12 references