What Shipments Qualify as Dangerous Goods?

If your business utilizes supply chain management tactics to ship goods, chances are you may know about how certain hazardous commodities must be handled differently from normal products. These “dangerous goods” use special packaging to prevent contamination and possible harm to your employees and consumers. So what types of shipments require dangerous goods packaging? This guide will hopefully answer any questions.

Toxic Substances

Also referred to as poisons, items in this category are largely complex, lab-created chemicals that are detrimental to human health. The most common examples of toxic materials are used medical products that create biohazards and must be disposed of according to federal regulations.

Radioactive Materials

If radioactive waste must be transported, HAZMAT suits and other safety precautions may be required. Common examples of radioactive objects can include radiography equipment and gear used to test radiation levels. Radioactive materials are prohibited from air transport, and international shipping policies can be very limiting.

Flammable and Explosive Supplies

Plenty of everyday items — such as perfume, fireworks, lighters, cosmetics and printing ink — are classified as either flammable or at risk for minor explosions. These items, depending on the severity of a possible explosion or fire, may or may not be accepted by certain shipping companies.

Oxidizing Substances

These chemical compounds release oxygen, which can cause combustible materials to ignite or exacerbate an already ongoing flame. Some oxidizers can even explode if exposed to heat, friction, certain gasses or heavy force. Common examples include hydrogen peroxide solutions, nitric acid and perchloric acid.

Corrosive and Miscellaneous Items

Corrosives will cause harm to human skin and will erode steel. Most types of acids and batteries will fall into this category, and the international shipping of corrosives is almost always prohibited. Miscellaneous items that do not fit into any of the previous categories, such as airbags and life vests, are approved on a case-by-case basis.

All hazardous substances will require hefty amounts of paperwork and labeling before they can be shipped. If your business needs to ship dangerous items, make sure to use the right equipment for the job and take the necessary precautions.