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HQ 951225

JUNE 23, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 951225 NLP


TARIFF NO.: 8110.00.00

Mr. R.R. McIntyre
DuPont Canada, Inc.
Box 2200, Streetsville
Mississauga, Ontario L5M 2H3

RE: Radiation protection apparel; radiation protection core material; antimony powder; heading 9022; Explanatory Note 90.22; HRL 085277; GRI 3(b)

Dear Mr. McIntyre:

This is in response to your letter dated February 21, 1992, requesting the tariff classification of radiation protection apparel and its core material under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


Descriptive literature and samples of the core material were submitted for our review. The core material of the radiation protection apparel is made up of the following:

Material % by weight % by value
(in sheet/roll form)
antimony powder 53 53 lead powder 28 6 tungsten powder 7 15
EVA co-polymer 7 2 plasticizer 5 1

The materials above are mixed and processed into sheet form. The core material is applied in layers in order to provide additional flexibility to the fabric. The sheets are laminated with PVC coated fabric material and are cut into pieces and assembled into various forms including the following: coats, vests, skirts, aprons, gonad and thyroid shields.

The above formulation of components makes the apparel less weighty, which provides greater comfort to the wearers and still provides protection against x-rays. The radiation protection apparel is worn by radiologists and technologists who work in proximity to patients receiving x-rays.

What is the HTSUS classification of the core material for the radiation protection apparel?

What is the HTSUS classification for the radiation protection apparel?


The classification of goods under the HTSUS is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI's may be applied, taken in order.

Heading 9022, HTSUS, provides, in part, for apparatus based on the use of x-rays, whether or not for medical, surgical, dental or veterinary uses, including parts and accessories thereof. If the subject articles are considered to be parts or accessories as those terms are used in heading 9022, HTSUS, then they are classified in heading 9022, HTSUS. Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 085277, dated November 2, 1989, dealt with the classification of radiation protection apparel that is essentially the same as the subject merchandise, except that barium tungstate, instead of antimony, was the main component of the core material. HRL 085277 stated that protective apparel of this type was not a "part or accessory" of heading 9022, HTSUS. This was substantiated by the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HCDCS) Explanatory Notes to heading 9022, page 1502, which state, in pertinent part, that:

The heading does not, however, cover, protective devices designed to be worn by the operator, such as overalls or gloves of lead-filled rubber (heading 40.15) or lead-glass goggles (heading 90.04).

HRL 085277 held that the subject apparel was considered to be a protective device and the intent of the Explanatory Notes was to exclude this type of merchandise. Therefore, the radiation protection apparel was not classified in heading 9022, HTSUS.

Like the radiation protection apparel in HRL 085277, the subject radiation apparel is a composite good as it is composed of several different materials. GRI 2 addresses classification of composite goods and states the following, in pertinent part:

(b) ... Any reference to goods of a given material or substance shall be taken to include a reference to goods consisting wholly or partly of such material or substance. The classification of goods consisting of more than one material or substance shall be according to the principles of rule 3.

GRI 3 states, in pertinent part, the following:

When, by application of rule 2(b) or for any other reason, goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be effected as follows:

(b) Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and goods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

HCDCS Explanatory Note VIII to GRI 3(b), page 4, states that:

(VIII) The factor which determines essential character will vary as between different kinds of goods. It may, for example, be determined by the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods.

The essential character of the various types of radiation protection apparel is conferred upon the articles by their protective features embodied in the core material. Without the radiation protection provided by the lead and antimony powder in the core material, the subject merchandise would not have any use as protective apparel. We note that the plastic and textile elements contribute significantly less to the merchandise by virtue of their weight or value.

Of the headings which merit consideration under GRI 3(b), heading 7806, HTSUS, is the provision into which these items would fall if the essential character is determined to be the lead. If the essential character is represented by the antimony powder, then heading 8110, HTSUS, would be the correct HTSUS provision. It is our position that the antimony powder provides the essential character of the core material and the radiation protection apparel. The substitution of antimony for the barium
tungstate allows equivalent protection from x-rays together with a reduction in the weight of the apparel, providing greater comfort to the wearer. The antimony powder comprises the majority of the composite material based on its weight and value. These factors together with the increased qualitative function of the antimony powder impart the essential character of this article, whether in the form of core material or finished apparel. Therefore, the core material and the finished radiation protection apparel are classified in subheading 8110.00.00, HTSUS, as antimony and articles thereof.


The core material and the radiation protection apparel are classified in subheading 8110.00.00, HTSUS, as antimony and articles thereof. Products that are classified in this subheading are entitled to entry free of duty.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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