USPS Regulations and Updates
U.S. Postal Service Creating New Rules for Mailing Liquids

Different bottle of perfume on a wooden table

After an Unfortunate Incident USPS New Rules are Being Created

It was a normal day at the Westgate Post Office, on the outskirts of Rochester, NY. Then a strange odor filled the air, irritating people’s eyes and respiratory passages. By the time the emergency crew had finished its investigation, six people had been sent to hospital for observation, and ten more had been evacuated. At last the culprit was discovered, lurking in an innocuous-seeming package. It turned out that a bottle of nail polish remover inside had broken and the liquid was dripping from the box.

Luckily, no one was seriously hurt. “This was unfortunate, but it could have been worse,” said Karen Mazurkiewicz, spokesperson for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). It isn’t actually illegal for people to ship small amounts of hazardous materials through the mail in the U.S., as long as shippers comply with the “Hazardous Materials Regulations” of Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations (49 CFR), as well as the “Postal Service Regulations” in Title 39 of the Code (39 CFR). Guidelines for mailing hazardous materials can be found in USPS Publication 52 – Hazardous, Restricted and Perishable Mail.

Unfortunately, many shippers in private life (and even some in industry) aren’t even aware that these regulations exist. And what was created by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for commercial shippers may not provide workers and Continue Reading…

USPS Regulations and Updates
USPS Simplifies Mailing Ethanol-Based Products by Air

Cargo loading on aircraft

Consumer Products

It seemed such a simple task at the time. A company decided to expand their consumer product line to include perfumes. They expected to send orders to customers, as they did their other products, by airmail. Yet, when setting up the shipment, an unexpected roadblock appeared. The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) told them that the perfume was a hazardous material.

How can a common consumer product like perfume be hazardous for transportation? Most perfumes have an alcohol base, designed to evaporate quickly leaving the scent behind. Unfortunately, this means that such perfumes are flammable liquids for transportation and are subject to Department of Transportation (DOT) as well as USPS restrictions for both ground and air transport.

So, the decision to go into perfumes created some major headaches for the company. But they recently got some good news. If the perfume is based on ethanol, one of the most common alcohols, the company will get a break – USPS has reduced the requirements for this one solvent. Ethanol, or ethyl alcohol, can be found in many consumer products, ranging from perfumes to hairspray to bath oil. By reducing the requirements for shipment of these products, shippers will enjoy reduced costs and complexity.

Airmailing Hazardous Materials

If you wish to airmail hazardous materials in the United States, your first step should be to consult USPS Publication 52 – Hazardous, Restricted, and Perishable Mail. Continue Reading…

Rules for Mailing HazMat to Change

Just in time for the holidays…

The US Postal Service issued a final rule November 28, 2012 on the marking of parcels containing hazardous materials. The rule aims to revise the Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) 601.10, and Publication 52, Hazardous, Restricted, and Perishable Mail, chapters 2, 3, 7 and Appendices A and C. These changes reflect DOT’s changes to the Hazardous Materials Regulations and the revision to the international air transport regulations.

The changes reflect the pending elimination of “Other Regulated Material (ORM-D)” classification and “Other Regulated Material by Air (ORM-D-Air)” as well as the partial elimination of ‘consumer commodity’ shipments.

Because the ORM-D-Air provisions will be eliminated effective Jan. 1, 2013, all references to OMR-D-Air have been eliminated.  The USPS decided to indicate the elimination of ORM-D for all modes will be Jan. 1, 2015 even though PHMSA has not finalized the extension to this date in the Hazardous Materials Regulations as of yet.  USPS guidance requires that hazardous materials which are not packaged for air transport must have the words “Surface Mail Only” in association with the ORM-D hazard marking and the shipper/consignee address.

Shippers wishing to offer hazardous materials by mail are encouraged to review the changes in depth.  The effective date of the Final Rule is Jan. 1, 2013.