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Why are some items classed as Dangerous Goods?

Many items are classified as dangerous goods under international regulations. Some hazardous items like toxic chemicals, radioactive substances, or explosive items, obviously require special handling. However, common everyday items can also be classified as Dangerous for transport.


If you have tried to ship perfume overseas you may have found that the postal service cannot ship perfume, or you may have had a package seized by Royal Mail (in the UK) or USPS (in the USA) if it contains perfume.

Perfume is flammable, and as such poses a risk should the perfume bottle break and leak perfume. It could cause a hazard shipping by air or shipping by road.


If you have tried to ship aerosols overseas you may have found that aerosols are restricted, and Royal Mail or USPS may have seized and destroyed your package.


There are different types of aerosols but they can be flammable aerosols and toxic aerosols and so represent multiple hazards: compressed gas, flammability, or toxicity.


Flammability is an obvious problem, but a toxic gas could cause problems on an aircraft or to logistics workers handling the packages, and compressed gas could be an explosive hazard.

Nail Varnish / Paint

Nail varnish / nail lacquer / nail polish are classed as paint. Similarly tins of paint you might use to decorate your house could be considered hazardous. The hazard risk is flammability, and like shipping perfume you may have problems shipping with Royal Mail, and couriers will not accept Dangerous Goods unless from an approved shipper like DG Parcel.

Batteries (Lithium Ion)

Regulation on shipping batteries has tightened in recent years. While small dry cell batteries can be shipped without problems, larger batteries and specifically Lithium Ion batteries have restrictions.

Lithium Ion batteries power common everyday electronic devices such as mobile phones, laptops and tablet computers. Lithium Ion batteries pose a significant hazard in that in certain circumstances they can explode and present a serious flammability risk.

Restrictions on shipping lithium ion batteries depends on a number of factors such as the Watt-hour (Wh) rating of the battery, whether the battery (or batteries) are loose, contained in the equipment being sent (such as built in to a phone or laptop) or whether they are packed with the equipment they power (such as a spare battery for a phone or laptop).

In addition there are restrictions on the weight of batteries being sent, whether the consignment can travel on passenger aircraft or is restricted to cargo aircraft only, and accordingly, depending on the courier the destinations that can be shipped ot can be limited.

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