Dangerous Goods: What is a Dangerous Good?

Today we’re going to talk about some of the restrictions, classifications and issues surrounding the shipment of dangerous goods, and hopefully answer some questions you may have.

OPAS is a registered shipper of Dangerous Goods via IATA/ICAO regulations. We have certified Dangerous Goods (“DG”) technicians on our staff to identify, package and ship these products for you. Just because we’re registered to ship it, however, does not mean that our courier agencies will necessarily be able to carry it to your country, however. We’ll address that later

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DG are divided into 9 classifications (and many subdivisions) by IATA/ICAO code, but the vast majority of what will be shipped by our customers is Class 9. Classes 1-8 are mostly explicitly dangerous items like explosives, pressurized and flammable gases and liquids, radioactive material, corrosives, and a bunch of chemicals with ten-syllable names. Most of our customers don’t have much interest in buying or shipping these kinds of items. If you do, send us an email at service@opas.com and we’ll see what we can do for you.

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Class 9 DG, or “miscellaneous dangerous goods,” are what comprise 99% of our DG shipments, specifically identified by the code ID 8000, Consumer Commodity. What does this mean? This means anything that is packaged in a way that is meant to be directly sold to the end consumer, but is dangerous enough to have special precautions for shipment.

This includes most perfumes – the alcohol content of which is high enough to be considered flammable. This can also include other skin care products containing alcohol. This includes high-wattage Lithium Ion batteries, like you’d find in portable rechargers for devices like smartphones, MP3 players, and laptops.

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Here are some quick guidelines for the customer to determine if an item is DG:

If one of the first three ingredients ends in “—ohol,” then it’s probably dangerous goods. The top three ingredients are primary ingredients, and alcohols of all kinds are flammable when present in that amount.

If the wattage hours (WaH) of a Lithium Ion or Lithium Metal battery are over 100, then it’ll be dangerous goods.

If it’s a pressurized flammable liquid (such as spray paint, or spray adhesive) then it’s definitely dangerous goods. Not only that, but these are frequently categorized as Class 3 Flammable Liquids rather than Class 9 Miscellaneous, which means they’ll be able to be shipped to fewer countries.

If all else fails, the best way to identify dangerous goods is by the acquisition of the Materials Safety Data Sheet, or MSDS. This is a document that has to be submitted for every manufactured good you can find and it is divided into multiple sections. In Section 14, you’ll find the transport guidelines. Look under the IATA/ICAO regulations, and you’ll be able to see not only if it’s DG, but what classification.

All merchants should make their MSDS paperwork available via email contact, and if you have any questions once you’ve received it (or with anything else having to do with DG) just contact us at service@opas.com.

Next time, we’ll discuss our steps for packaging the goods, the charges associated, and what goods can be shipped to what countries.

4 thoughts on “Dangerous Goods: What is a Dangerous Good?”

  1. I think it is really important to understand what is dangerous and what is not when dealing with shipping. The last thing that anybody needs are for something to slip by that might be dangerous. My wife and I are really careful when we ship things and make sure to label everything. This way, those that make sure our things are safe can do them quickly and efficiently. Thanks for the help!

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