Shopping Online – A Growing Issue in Dangerous Goods Transportation

Online shopping – whether from large internet companies such as Amazon, to individual vendors on sites such as eBay – has grown, well, explosively, in the past few years. But with this growth has come a headache for shippers, receivers and regulators. How do you handle online purchases of product that may actually be classified as dangerous goods (or, in the US, as hazardous materials)?

Online shop with dangerous goods.

Often, people are not aware that common consumer products may be considered hazardous for transportation. These include:

  • Aerosol sprays
  • Cosmetics, such as nail polish remover or perfumes
  • Flammable liquids, such as paints and adhesives
  • Smoke detectors containing radioactive sources
  • Fireworks
  • Refrigerants (including those in equipment)
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Goods with internal combustion engines
  • Lithium batteries, including batteries packed in or with electronic equipment

There are, of course, provisions in various regulations such as the US Hazardous Materials Regulations of 49 CFR (Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations), and Canada’s Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) Regulations. Small packages of dangerous goods can often be shipped more easily under the provisions for Limited Quantities or Consumer Commodities. These provisions, however, do vary from country to country.

In addition, the regulations for shipment by air are much more stringent. Shipments by carriers who specialize in fast delivery may need to comply with the system for air transportation from ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization), and IATA (International Air Transport Association). These may require additional packaging, labeling Continue Reading…