By Bob Barney
The Plain Truth tries to educate and inform our readers on the little known "facts" that we are often not aware off. Each day, we spend our lives in a ready made world, yet we most often never question "why we do what we do!" We blindly follow along, like sheep and ask very few questions about why things are the way they are. I am a bit different, in that I have always questioned everything. Even as a boy, I would read the World Book Encyclopedia everyday to learn something new. Unlike most journalist (I am really not one) I have a unique background-- one that is of the common man. I was born into a middle-class family and my father was a child of the depression, growing up without a family (he was literally "sold out" as a slave to a local farmer who had no boys to work on the farm. He literally worked for only room and board and was not allowed to celebrate any holiday, especially Christmas with the farmer's real children, who were all girls.) As I boy, I worked on the farm that my dad worked ran for an elderly "spinster" after WWII before he went to work for the Nestle Company. I have a working person's background. Even today, I operate a family manufacturing business and physically work very hard with my hands all day, 5-6 days a week! I am "in touch" with the average "Joe and Jane" out there in the workforce, trying to earn a meager living.
Now back to today's topic. Have you ever wondered what those four digit numbers on the placards on the side of trucks and rail cars mean? UN/NA numbers (the four digit number) found on bulk placards refer to specific chemicals or groups of chemicals and are assigned by the United Nations and the United States Department of Transportation. Where you aware that whatever we ship INSIDE the USA is under United Nations rules? UN1263, for example, is the UN shipping number for automotive paint. Title 49 of the United States Code of Federal Regulations (49CFR) also known as the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Regulations (FMCSR) requires the use hazardous materials' placards when shipping hazardous materials' cargo and dangerous goods in the United States. Canada, Mexico and many other countries have similar regulations that also require the use of these placards.
I am not suggesting that there is a sinister plot behind this concerning the United Nations, I am only pointing out what I believe most do not know. My goal is to make our readers aware of "Why we do what we do."
UN numbers or UN IDs are four-digit numbers that identify dangerous goods hazardous substances and articles (such as explosives, flammable liquids, toxic substances, etc.) in the framework of international transport. They are assigned by the United Nations Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods.