The issue has gone back and forth across the table, but now UN chiefs have decided that pingpong balls should no longer be classified as dangerous goods.
The balls, which are made of celluloid or similar flammable plastics, were on the list of goods included in ADR regulations for the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road because of the deadly fumes produced if they catch light. But amendments that came into force on 1 January saw them removed as a hazardous item.
The new rule SP 383 says table tennis balls are not subject to ADR if they do not exceed 3g net and have a total net mass of 500g per package. Luckily, the International Table Tennis Federation requires all balls used in official matches to be 2.7g.
“To hauliers moving petroleum or explosives it is pretty clear to them that they fall within the ADR requirements, but this change demonstrates that there are many seemingly innocuous cargoes which could be subject to the rules,” Nigel Pope, the FTA’s new Head of Dangerous Goods Information, commented.