Explosives aren’t the only e-commerce hazmat you might ship for July 4th

A few everyday hazmat items you might find at your local July 4th celebration

July 4th is the day we celebrate being American, and what’s more American than getting what you want, when you want it? E-commerce delivers on that dream for millions of Americans every day, and that can be a beautiful thing.

It can also be a dangerous thing, because many e-commerce shippers still don’t realize when they’re shipping Dangerous Goods. This is especially true with lithium batteries and the devices they power, which require exceptionally robust packaging (like our advanced Obexion line) and special marks and labels to be shipped safely and compliantly.

Lots of other normal, everyday items are actually regulated hazardous materials, which is one reason we often find ourselves telling e-commerce shippers, “Yes, you’re shipping hazmat.”

So what’s hazmat? Here are just a few everyday items you might find at your local July 4th celebration:


Fireworks, firecrackers and mini-rockets are pretty obvious—they’re Class 1 explosives.

Do you barbecue with propane? It’s probably a good idea to have a fire extinguisher handy. And how are you going to stay cool without refrigerant gases in your air conditioning? All of these items are (or contain) Class 2 Gasses.

If you start your barbecue with charcoal lighter fluid or enjoy drinks made with alcohol, you’re using Class 3 Flammable Liquids.

If you’re one of those purists who’ll only grill your burgers and brats over charcoal briquettes lit with strike-anywhere matches, you’ve got yourself some Class 4 Flammable Solids.

Your lawn might not look so luscious and green without ammonium nitrate-based fertilizer, and your hair might not look so dazzling and blonde without a solution of hydrogen peroxide. And those are just two examples of Class 5 Oxidizers.

Speaking of your magnificent lawn, maybe you took care of those weeds with an herbicide containing triazine. And you probably sprayed yourself with liberal amounts of DEET-based mosquito repellent containing N, N-diethylaniline. Yes, those are both hazmat—Class 6 Poisons, to be exact.

Say it’s raining, so you take your brats and burgers inside to broil—and the smoke triggers your smoke detector. That smoke detector is actually a Class 7 Radioactive.

After the barbecue, you might scrub your grill with a grill cleaner containing lye, a.k.a. sodium hydroxide. And if you had a particularly rowdy 4th, you might need toilet bowl cleaner containing hydrochloric acid. Either way, you’re using a Class 8 Corrosive.

From the dry ice your fancy steaks came in to the lithium batteries powering the kids’ phones while they shoot video of the fireworks, your celebration may involve any number of Class 9 Miscellaneous Dangerous Goods. (Lithium batteries and battery-powered devices are, as we mentioned earlier, the biggest category shipped non-compliantly by shippers who simply don’t know they’re shipping hazmat.)

See? Your July 4th fun might just include all nine classes of Dangerous Goods. Could your organization be shipping hazmat without even knowing it? Contact us and we’ll help you find any compliance gaps before they cost you a great big American civil penalty.

Happy Fourth of July, everyone!

Non-compliance is nothing to celebrate! Make sure your shipments are safe and in complete compliance with a full line of solutions from Labelmaster—a full-service provider of goods and services for hazardous materials and Dangerous Goods professionals, shippers, transport operators and EH&S providers.


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