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The next time you ship ink, adhesive, polymeric beads, or other supplies to a customer by air, make sure you are not unwittingly violating federal law by shipping items that may be classified as hazardous materials (Hazmat) by the US Department of Transportation (DOT) and enforced by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Some items that you might consider harmless might actually be classified as hazardous by the DOT, and your company could pay heavy fines for sending such products if they’re not properly labeled and packaged.

For example, Humphreys Textile Products, a manufacturer or industrial fabric products, wanted to help a customer in a bind and shipped a 32-oz can of printing ink in standard labeling and packaging. The product leaked during transit, and UPS reported the incident to the FAA, as required by law. While no injury or damage to property resulted, Humphreys was charged more than $40,000 in penalties. Violations included improper shipping documents, no Hazmat labels or markings, improper packaging, and no training for shipping personnel. Additional violations included emergency response required for the leaking container and its release into the environment.

Understanding and abiding by U.S. DOT Hazmat regulations may save your company a hefty penalty and prevent potential health and safety risks. Any business interested in learning more about Hazmat rules can take advantage of the FAA’s outreach program, through which representatives from the organization will provide information or make presentations describing the regulations. For more information, visit

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