Dangerous Goods: The Do’s and Don’ts of Shipping Household Items

When it comes to shipping goods via courier, there are specific regulations that must be respected to ensure the safety of delivery drivers. Anything that can be classified as a hazardous item or dangerous goods are more often than not, prohibited.

Hazardous Materials

List of hazardous Items

The Vehicle Certification Agency defines Dangerous Goods (known in the United States as hazardous materials) as “pure chemicals, mixtures of substances, manufactured products or articles which can pose a risk to people, animals or the environment if not properly handled in use or in transport.”

These items may not be dangerous in their day to day use but the can become dangerous when they are exposed to unusual movement, changes in temperature, and variations in atmospheric pressure.

Anything that can cause harm to those transporting the items must be correctly labelled as dangerous goods.

An example of this that most people have seen but may not have understood is lorries with diamond shaped warning signs on their rear. These warning signs are attached to inform anyone that the contents of these vehicles are hazardous.

To avoid any incidents, all couriers have a list of items that they refuse to ship. This prevents any confusion and helps to protect the couriers from physical harm and those sending items from legal issues.

When a company ships its own goods from A to B, they know if there are transporting dangerous goods. But couriers often pick up packages from many different sources, so they are relying on the person sending these packages to know what they are sending and to respect the regulations and laws of the country where their parcel will be delivered to.

Does My Parcel Contain Any Dangerous Goods?

  1. Make sure you know exactly what is included in your shipment
  2. Crosscheck your parcel’s contents with your chosen courier’s prohibited items list
  3. If in doubt, contact the customer service team and explain exactly what you are attempting to send.

Prohibited Household Items

Prohibited Household Items

Often, many of us don’t realise that the goods we are planning to send are prohibited for transport. At ParcelHero, we want to make it clear for everyone what can and cannot be sent to avoid disappointment.


Shipping Perfume

Perfume is one of the most common goods that are sent by courier that end up destroyed or returned – If you ship perfume, it will be returned or destroyed

In this case, perfumes also include aftershave and any other fragrances.

Generally, perfume contains large amounts of alcohol and alcohol can catch fire very easily. Coupled with the fact that perfume is also usually found within glass bottles, shipping this product has great potential to pose danger to those transporting it.


Mailing Alcohol

Licensing laws, flammability and underage drinking are all reasons that sending alcohol in the mail is not legal in most countries. Some people try and get around shipping alcohol and end up facing hefty fines and the possibility of jail time. In America, punishments can vary state by state.

It is possible to send alcohol through both FedEx and UPS, but you must be an approved alcohol shipper with your selected courier and must have the correct licensing. This requires a lot of planning, paperwork and time.


Shipping Aerosols

Shipping Aerosols

Aerosols, such as deodorants, are identified as dangerous due to the fact that they are made up of compressed gas. This poses a threat as most aerosols also include flammable components such as alcohol. If compressed gas is allowed to exceed 52°C then it faces the possibility of explosion.

It is worth noting that shipping flammable goods and compressed goods are prohibited with ParcelHero; you must adhere to any warning labels or documents that accompany your item before you book a collection.


Shipping Batteries

Shipping Batteries

Any batteries containing liquid cannot be sent on their own, through ParcelHero. These are common in laptops and are often not considered as dangerous by the lay person which results in them being shipped and discovered frequently. It is possible to ship Lithium-ion batteries if they are contained in the unit and the unit can be switched off with no chance of turning on.
Batteries containing liquid such as lithium-ion batteries contain a highly corrosive acid that can cause major fires. As a case in point, the UPS Flight 6 crash of 2013 was caused by the explosion of a shipment of lithium-ion batteries.
More information about what batteries you can and can’t send and how to ship them can be found on our guide to shipping batteries.


Mailing Nail Varnish

Nail Varnish may seem like an innocent gift to send to someone via courier, but it is prohibited as it is extremely flammable. Due to the fact that the majority of nail polish is contained within glass bottles they also carry the risk of breaking and spreading their flammable contents beyond just the area where the nail polish is located.

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