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NY I87859

November 26, 2002

CLA-2-90:RR:NC:N1:105 I87859


TARIFF NO.: 9018.90.7580

Eric Lang, D.O.
6701 Castor Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19149

RE: The tariff classification of a cerumen removal system from China

Dear Dr. Lang:

In your letter dated October 22, 2002, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

This hand-held device uses controlled suction to move impacted earwax, which has been softened by a solution poured into the ear canal, towards the outer part of the ear canal, where it can be removed with a swab. As your patent, 6,406,484, points out it does not use sufficient pressure to remove the wax out of the canal since higher pressures might injure the inner ear.

The electric vacuum pump in the base partially evacuates the cavity in the device. The hand-held part is then separated from the base. The flow of air into the cavity is then controlled by hand via a one-way valve. The flow can continue until the cavity is filled with the incoming air, thus producing the same pressure inside the cavity as outside it. A soft seal is used to prevent air leakage along the area of contact between the device and the end of the ear canal.

Not all powered hygienic devices which promote good health are medical instruments and apparatus. For example, electric toothbrushes are not. However, the devices used by dental assistants which spin small cleaning brushes at high speeds to remove stubborn tooth tartar are dental apparatus.

As your patent indicates, individuals usually use only solution flushed into the ear to remove earwax from the deeper parts of the ear canal. However, while relatively safe for an unskilled user, the procedure is ineffective against the relatively unusual situation of impacted earwax.

Your patent routinely refers to the handler of this relatively sophisticated and hazardous device as a physician, and the facts support the likelihood that it would be used normally by a health care professional.

The applicable subheading for the device will be 9018.90.7580, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for “other” electro-medical instruments and appliances. The rate of duty will be free.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).

A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist J. Sheridan at 646-733-3012.


Robert B. Swierupski

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