Shipping Labels for Radioactive Materials

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These labels were mandated by the Bureau of Explosives, the Interstate Commerce Commission, and the Civil Aviations Board for packages employed to ship radioactive materials. That on the left, the one with the skull and cross bones, dates from the 1940s (the text refers to the Clinton National Laboratory). This style of label seems to been used at least as late as the early 1960s. The label on the right dates from the 1950s.  Its use seems to have been discontinued sometime in the 1970s.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had used the skull and cross bones as late as 1961, but by 1967 had switched to the White I, Yellow II and Yellow III labels. The United States adopted the IAEA protocols in 1967.

Thanks to Dana Willaford and Scott Pennigton for some of the background information.

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 Last updated: 07/25/07
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