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What Items Are Considered Hazmat?

If you’re an eCommerce entrepreneur or you need to ship hazardous materials for any other reason, you may be wondering what items are considered to be hazmat and need to be specially packaged for shipping. Find out in this quick guide from LPS Industries!


What Are Hazardous Materials? How Can They Be Identified as Hazmat?

Broadly defined, a hazardous material is any material that may cause serious injury or harm to a person or property when shipped. This can include chemicals, explosives, biohazardous materials, and other such materials. So, when shipping hazardous materials, special precautions must be taken, such as the use of special hazardous shipping containers that keep the dangerous product safe with multiple layers of protection.


The best way to identify a hazardous material is by consulting Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) that are issued with certain chemicals and products. You can also look directly at the product packaging, which will likely contain a “signal word” such as “Danger” and “Warning.” Danger is the word used for more severe hazards, while Warning is used for less severe hazards.


The packaging may also contain other specific logos and information about the hazards of the chemical or substance. For example, a poisonous chemical will have the “skull & crossbones” emblem, while an explosive will have an orange “starburst” emblem.


Common Types Of Hazardous Materials That Must Be Shipped

Depending on your area of business, there are a lot of different items that may require you to work with hazmat shipping companies to procure appropriate packaging when shipping.


  • Lithium-ion batteries – Lithium-ion batteries contain chemicals that can cause a runaway reaction when heated to a certain temperature, resulting in an explosion. While this is rare, there are still restrictions on shipping certain volumes and types of lithium-ion batteries, and proper packaging must be used to protect them. 

  • Fertilizer – Some types of fertilizer, like ammonium nitrate, are highly explosive under certain conditions, even in small amounts. These types of fertilizer must be properly packaged for safety when shipping. 

  • Compressed gases – Just about all types of compressed gas, such as carbon dioxide and oxygen, are considered to be hazardous since they’re under pressure. Flammable gases like oxygen, in particular, are even more dangerous. 

  • Flammable liquids – This contains a wide category of products like most types of alcohol and spirits, paint thinner, acetone, some types of essential oils, and others. 

  • Poisons – Some products like disinfectants, pesticides,