Common Items that May Be Hazardous

Watch for any of the following descriptions that could indicate Dangerous Goods or Hazardous Materials:

  • Acidic
  • Caustic
  • Combustible Communicable
  • Compressed Gas
  • Corrosive
  • Explosive
  • Flammable
  • Infectious
  • Inflammable
  • Poison
  • Radioactive
  • Refrigerated
  • Toxic
  • Volatile

Certain specific terms may also be clues that dangerous goods and/or hazardous materials may be present. The table below identifies such trigger terms and the potential hazards they may indicate.

Specific Term Potential Hazard
Air Bags May contain airbag inflators, or air bag modules, or seat-belt pretensioner.
Air Conditioning Equipment May contain gases under pressure.
Aircraft Parts May contain such items as fuel control devices which cannot be fully purged of fuel and must be shipped regulated.
Auto Parts May include carburetors, gas lines, or gas tanks which may contain gasoline.
Barometers May indicate the presence of mercury.
Batteries Come in a variety of sizes and types. Several types of batteries are regulated as hazardous materials, including spillable lead-acid batteries, etc. Positive protection against short circuits is essential, even for batteries that are not subject to applicable Hazardous Materials Regulations.
Breathing Apparatus May mean oxygen cylinders under pressure.
Bull Semen May signal the presence of dry ice or liquefied gas.
Camping/Gear Equipment May include many different dangerous items such as: ammunition, batteries, cooking stoves, flammable gas, fire starting pastes, flammable liquids, heat producing packets, lighters, matches (both strike anywhere and safety type), signal flares, STERNO cooking/heating fuel (the structural tubing on certain types of backpacks contains liquid fuels).
Chain Saws and other powered tools Will most likely contain a residue of fuel.
Chemical Oxygen May indicate the presence of an oxygen generator.
Cigarette Lighters Including Lighters or Lighter Refills or Torches may contain flammable gas or flammable liquid.
Computer Equipment May contain uninterruptible power supplies with electrical storage batteries, magnets in speakers and printing ink.
Construction Equipment May contain the presence of batteries, CO2 cartridges, and other power devices, gasoline powered saws or generators and space heaters all possibly containing fuel, Liquefied Petroleum gas torches, paints, drying agents and thinners.
Cosmetics May contain flammable liquids.
Cryogenic (Liquid) Means a liquefied gas of very low temperature, which must be shipped as a regulated item.
Cylinder/Container/Tank May contain flammable or nonflammable compressed gases.
Dental Apparatus/Equipment May contain hazardous chemicals such as resins, solvents, or gases.
Drilling and Mining Equipment May contain explosives, acids, lubricants, mercury or other dangerous goods.
Electrical/Electronic Equipment May contain powerful magnets, mercury in switches, any one of a variety of batteries and uninterruptible power supplies containing electrical storage batteries.
Electrically Powered Apparatus May contain wet electric storage batteries or lithium batteries. Even if batteries are excepted from regulations, they must be positively protected against short circuits.
Engine Parts May include carburetors, gas lines, or gas tanks which may contain fuel or fuel residue.
Fertilizer Ammonium nitrate, may be an oxidizer.
Fire Extinguishers or Fire Fighting Equipment May contain gases under pressure or gasoline engine powered equipment.
Frozen Food May contain dry ice.
Gas May indicate the presence of a flammable liquid, such as gasoline, a flammable gas or nonflammable gas.
Household Goods May include paints, bleaches, spray cans under pressure, and numerous other dangerous items.
Hunting Supplies May contain small arms ammunition or other camping related items.
Ice Maker May contain gases under pressure.
Laboratory or Testing Equipment May contain assorted dangerous materials.
Laundry Supplies May mean strong bleaches or oxidizing fabric treatments.
Lawn Equipment Such as, but not limited to, lawn mowers and weed trimmers may contain hazardous materials in the form of fuels and/or batteries.
Lighters Including Cigarette Lighters or Lighter Refills or Torches may contain flammable gas or flammable liquid.
Machinery Parts May include adhesives, paints, sealants, solvents or other chemicals and gases.
Medical Supplies May contain flammable or corrosive chemicals, infectious substances or radioactive materials.
Mercury Or the term "mercurial" may indicate a shipment that is regulated.
Motorized Equipment Which may contain gasoline or electric batteries.
MSDS or Material Safety Data Sheet May indicate a product is hazardous. Ensure that the shipment receives expert analysis before being advanced.
Office Supplies May contain aerosols, both flammable and non-flammable printing ink, uninterruptible power supplies containing electrical storage batteries.
Oxygen Generator Means a prohibited chemical device that generates oxygen and a large amount of heat.
Passenger Service Unit(PSU) May indicate the presence of an oxygen generator as utilized in an aircraft.
Perfume May contain flammable liquids.
Pharmaceuticals May include flammable liquids, radioactive medicines, or other hazardous chemicals.
Photographic Supplies Could contain acids, corrosive materials, bleaches, or poisonous materials.
Rechargeable Drills, Screwdrivers and other hand tools May contain lithium batteries.
Refrigeration Equipment May contain gases under pressure.
Repair Kits May contain adhesives, paints, solvents, flammable gases, or other dangerous goods.
Samples for Testing May contain any number of dangerous goods.
Survey Equipment May indicate the presence of electrical equipment, batteries, power cartridges, and other regulated materials.
Swimming Pool, Jacuzzi Chemicals or Parts May contain oxidizers or other dangerous goods.
Thermometers May indicate the presence of mercury.
Tool Boxes May contain explosives(power rivets), compressed gases(spray cans), flammable adhesives or paints, corrosive liquids, etc.
Vaccines May be packed in dry ice.
Venom (liquid, powder or otherwise) may be poisonous.
Weather Equipment May indicate the presence of devices containing mercury.
Additional Battery Guidance
Types of Batteries There are many kinds of batteries available today, and several are regulated as hazardous materials in transportation that may only be shipped by contract hazmat shippers.
Lead-acid Batteries Common in cars, electric wheelchairs, some continuous computer power sources, and other applications. These batteries contain highly corrosive acid and can cause fires from short circuits.
Non-spillable Batteries Tested, proven non-spillable batteries are allowed to be shipped as non-hazardous within the U.S. Batteries and packaging must be marked "NONSPILLABLE" or "NONSPILLABLE BATTERY".
Lithium Metal and Lithium Ion Batteries These batteries can be rechargeable or non-rechargeable power sources and are common in computers, cell phones, cameras, and other small electronic devices.If dropped, crushed, or short-circuited,lithium batteries can release dangerous amounts of heat and may ignite,making them dangerous in fires.
Other Batteries Although common dry cell(e.g., AA, C, D) batteries may not be regulated as hazardous materials, all batteries can cause fires from short circuits if batteries and terminals are not protected.
Protect Batteries and Terminals When shipping batteries, you must protect all terminals against short circuits by completely covering the terminals with an insulating material (e.g., by using electrical tape or enclosing each battery separately in a plastic bag.) • Short circuits can cause fires. • Package the batteries to keep them from being crushed or damaged, and to keep them from shifting during handling. • Always keep metal objects or other materials that can short circuit battery terminals securely away from the batteries- e.g., by using separate inner box for the batteries.
Prevent Fires Any device with installed batteries must not turn on while in transport. Protect switches that can be accidentally activated, or remove the batteries and protect the terminals. Even very simple devices like flashlights or rechargeable drills can generate a dangerous quantity of heat if accidentally activated.
Recalled or Recycled Batteries Never ship recalled or recycled batteries by air.
Electronic Items for Repair Repair items, such as computers and cell phones, should be sent without batteries.