The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has filed a document with the Federal Register announcing publication of the agency’s 2019 List of Explosive Materials.  The list will be published in the Federal Register on January 2, 2020, and is effective upon publication. Significantly, the new list adds four new explosives that have not been regulated in the past.

The federal explosives laws in 18 U.S.C. Chapter 40 require ATF to publish and revise at least annually a list of chemical compounds determined to be “explosive materials” regulated under the statute.  The list covers explosives, blasting agents, and detonators, all of which are defined as “explosive materials” in 18 U.S.C. § 841(c).  The list is alphabetical and lists common names, chemical names, and/or synonyms in brackets.  Blasting agents are marked with an asterisk.  The 2019 list supersedes the 2018 List of Explosive Materials published in the Federal Register on December 12, 2018.

As noted by ATF in the Federal Register notice, the List of Explosive Materials is a comprehensive list, but it is not all-inclusive.  The agency notes that the fact a particular chemical compound is not on the annual list does not mean it is not within coverage of the law if it otherwise meets the statutory definition of “explosives” in the statute.

New Explosives Added to the List

The four new chemical compounds added to the list of regulated “explosive materials” are as follows:

(1) “dipicryl sulfide” and its synonym “hexanitrodiphenyl sulfide”;

(2) “nitrotriazolone” and its synonym “3-nitro-1,2,4-triazol-5-one”;

(3) “trinitrobenzenesulfonic acid” and its synonym “picryl sulfonic acid”; and

(4) “trinitrofluorenone.”

ATF states that none of the above explosives previously appeared on the list under other names.  ATF also states the new items were added to the list following research and analysis by the agency’s National Center for Explosives Training and Research.  According to ATF, addition of the four explosives creates interagency consistency with classifications by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Transportation (DOT).  ATF notes that the four substances are listed DHS’s Chemical Facility Antiterrorism Standards Appendix A:  Chemicals of Interest List and DOT’s Hazardous Materials Table.

Significance of 2019 Explosives List

The purpose of annual publication of the List of Explosive Materials is to put the explosives industry and general public on notice of the list of chemical compounds regulated under the statute.  All explosives on the list may be lawfully transported, shipped, received, and distributed only by persons who hold a federal license or permit issued by ATF.  All explosives must also be kept in storage magazines meeting the construction and security standards set forth in the regulations in 27 C.F.R. Part 555.

Persons with questions about particular chemicals and whether they are regulated as explosives should contact ATF’s Explosives Industry Programs Branch at (202)648-7120 or

Please contact me with questions about this bulletin at or (301)358-3553.