Risks of refilling single-use TC-39M/DOT-39 cylinders

The purpose of this safety advisory is to advise the general public of the risks and dangers involved in refilling 1lb cylinders intended for one-time use only.

The definition of single-use cylinders

A TC-39M/DOT 39 cylinder is a seamless, welded, or brazed cylinder. They are most known as propane camping cylinders to conveniently provide fuel for heating and cooking during outdoor activities and for torch fuel use.

These are single-use cylinders, meaning they cannot be refilled. Not only is it illegal to refill these, but the following needs to be taken under consideration:

  • unlike a refillable cylinder, nonrefillable cylinders are not designed to handle the stresses associated with filling and emptying. These stresses may result in a rupture of the cylinder, in conjunction with a release of a highly flammable gas
  • they can easily be overfilled because they are not equipped with an overflow protection device

The reasons for precautions

TC-39M/DOT 39 cylinders are being refilled by various users in increasing numbers. As these cylinders pose a fire and explosion risk regarding improper handling, several incidents have been reported involving these cylinders due to being refilled illegally. Despite this danger, single-use cylinder “refill kits” and adaptors can be found advertised online while tutorials are easily accessible through a quick search and show the extent of the issue.

For this reason, Transport Canada is advising the general public of this safety risk and reminds everyone that refilling these cylinders is not only extremely dangerous but also prohibited.

For more information, please visit the Transportation of dangerous goods Program website or contact a Transport Canada dangerous goods inspector in your region:


Prairie & Northern