United Nations Dangerous Goods Number – Definition

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United Nations Dangerous Goods (UNDG) Number Definition

United Nations Dangerous Goods (UNDG) Number is a four-digit number that the United Nations committee of experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods assign. The function of this number is to find out dangerous or hazardous materials (goods) when they are being transported.

Dangerous goods such as  explosives, Flammable Liquids to oxidizing solid or toxic liquids and other hazardous materials are subject to transportation. The United Nations however devices a means of identifying these goods using the UNDG numbers. While some hazardous materials are classified into different groups and assigned UN numbers, certain dangerous substances have their specific numbers, an example is acrylamide with the number UN 2074.

A Little More on What is a United Nations Dangerous Goods Number

The UN numbers that are assigned to dangerous goods are within the range of UN 0004 to UN 3534. Chemicals or products with similar hazardous properties are assigned a common UN number, for instance, most flammable liquids have the number UN1993.

UN numbers are only placed on dangerous goods, harmless products do not carry UN numbers when they are being transported. Based on the recommendations of the United Nations Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods on how hazardous goods are transported, UN numbers came into force.

North America numbers (NA numbers) are similar to UN numbers. NA numbers are within the range of NA 9000 to NA 9279. These numbers are assigned by the United States Department of Transportation (USDT). Both NA numbers and UN numbers have the same purposes, some goods may be without UN numbers but they carry NA numbers showing that they are hazardous. However, there are some exceptions to how NA and UN numbers are assigned. For instance, while NA 2212 is all asbestos with UN 2212, NA 3334, is self-defense spray, non-pressurized while UN 3334 is aviation regulated liquid.

References for United Nations Dangerous Goods Number

Academic Research on United Nations Dangerous Goods (UNDG) number

Analysis and control of major accidents from the intermediate temporary storage of dangerous substances in marshalling yards and port areas, Christou, M. D. (1999). Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries, 12(1), 109-119.


The development of the globally harmonized system (GHS) of classification and labelling of hazardous chemicals, Winder, C., Azzi, R., & Wagner, D. (2005). Journal of Hazardous Materials, 125(1-3), 29-44.

Proposed amendments to UN ST/SG/AC. 10/11: transport of dangerous goods—lithium batteries, Farrington, M. D. (1999). Journal of power sources, 80(1-2), 278-285.

Organisation of truck-driver training for the transportation of dangerous goods in Europe and North America, Kuncyté, R., Laberge-Nadeau, C., Crainic, T. G., & Read, J. A. (2003). Accident Analysis & Prevention, 35(2), 191-200.

The UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, Model Regulations, by UNECE, N. (2012).

Risk occurrence measures for dangerous goods goods transport on a road network, Russo, F., & Rindone, C. (2013). WIT Transactions on the Built Environment, 134, 529-539.

Defining the undefinable: Good faith and the United Nations Convention on the contracts for the international sale of goods, Powers, P. J. (1998). JL & Com., 18, 333.

Domestically Prohibited Goods and Hazardous Substances-A New GATT Working Group is Established, Sankey, J. (1989). J. World Trade, 23, 99.

Developments in plastics packaging for the transport of dangerous goods, Schilperoord, T. (1999). Packaging Technology and Science: An International Journal, 12(6), 251-254.

Future roles of business in society: the expanding boundaries of corporate responsibility and a compelling case for partnership, Warhurst, A. (2005). Futures, 37(2-3), 151-168.

Global harmonisation of classification and labelling of hazardous chemicals, Pratt, I. S. (2002). Toxicology letters, 128(1-3), 5-15.

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