Essential Guide to the 9 Classes of Dangerous Goods

If you want to ship your chemical goods to a country, you need to classify them based on the dangerous goods classification according to the region’s laws. Therefore, Luwjistik provides you with the category of hazardous goods for each class. Below are the types of dangerous materials you should know before shipping them to a destination country.

What are Dangerous Goods?

We often don’t think about it, but some everyday items we use can harm aircraft. For example, things like lithium batteries, dry ice, and aerosol whipped cream, which seem harmless, can become hazardous when transported by air. Factors like vibrations, static electricity, temperature changes, and pressure variations can make these items leak, release toxic fumes, start fires, or even explode if not handled properly, as stated in the update.

Following the update by IATA, Dangerous goods (also referred to as hazardous materials or hazmat) encompass articles or substances that have the potential to present risks to health, safety, property, or the environment. These materials are detailed in the roster of dangerous goods within the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations or are categorised as per the provisions of those Regulations.

Regulatory guidelines include detailed systems for categorising hazards, helping create a structured way to understand dangerous substances. These substances are grouped into nine different categories based on the kind of risks they pose.

The Classification of Dangerous Goods

Here’s a list of the nine dangerous goods classifications for your reference.

Class 1: Explosive

For Explosive class, an explosive is defined as any substance or article, including a device, intended to operate through explosive means (i.e., a rapid release of gas and heat) or capable of functioning similarly through self-contained chemical reactions, even if not explicitly designed for explosion, unless otherwise categorised under the provisions of this subchapter. This definition encompasses pyrotechnic substances or articles unless they fall under other classifications within this subchapter.

As explained in the update, there are six divisions of explosives, each associated with the behaviour of the product upon initiation, such as:

  • Division 1.1: Substances and articles with a potential for mass explosion.
  • Division 1.2: Substances and articles posing a risk of projection but lacking a mass explosion hazard.
  • Division 1.3: Substances and articles presenting a fire hazard, a minor blast or projection risk, or both.
  • Division 1.4: Substances and articles with no significant hazard, only a small risk in case of ignition during transport, with effects primarily contained within the packaging.
  • Division 1.5: Highly insensitive substances with the potential for mass explosion.
  • Division 1.6: Extremely insensitive articles with no mass explosion hazard.

Common Examples of Class 1 Explosives

Here are the examples of Class 1 Explosives:

  • Ammunition
  • Fireworks
  • Flares
  • Blasting caps and detonators
  • Fuse
  • Primers
  • Explosive charges such as those used for blasting, demolition, etc.
  • Detonating cord
  • Air bag inflators
  • Igniters
  • Rockets
  • TNT
  • RDX
  • PETN

Class 2: Gases

Gases class is characterised following hazardous materials regulations as substances with a vapour pressure equal to or exceeding 300 kPa at 50°C or as substances entirely in a gaseous state at 20°C under standard atmospheric pressure. This classification encompasses compressed gases, liquefied gases, dissolved gases, refrigerated liquefied gases, mixtures of gases and vapours from other classes, items containing gases, and aerosols.

There are three divisions of gases that are mentioned in the update, each associated with the behaviour of the product upon initiation, such as:

  • Division 2.1: Flammable gases.
  • Division 2.2: Non-flammable, non-toxic gases.
  • Division 2.3: Toxic gases.

Common Examples of Class 2 Gases

Here are the examples of Class 2 Gases:

  • Aerosols
  • Compressed air
  • Hydrocarbon gas-powered devices
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Gas cartridges
  • Fertiliser ammoniating solution
  • Insecticide gases
  • Refrigerant gases
  • Lighters
  • Acetylene / Oxy Acetylene
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Helium / helium compounds
  • Hydrogen / hydrogen compounds
  • Oxygen / oxygen compounds
  • Nitrogen / nitrogen compounds
  • Natural gas
  • Oil gas
  • Petroleum gases
  • Butane
  • Propane
  • Ethane
  • Methane
  • Dimethyl ether
  • Propene / propylene
  • Ethylene

Class 3: Flammable Liquids

Flammable liquids, as per hazardous materials regulations, are characterised as substances that, under specified conditions, emit a combustible vapour (possess a flash point) at temperatures no higher than 60-65°C. These substances encompass liquids, liquid mixtures, or suspended or dissolved solids.

Moreover, they contain liquids presented for transportation at temperatures equal to or exceeding their flash point and materials transported in a liquid state at elevated temperatures, which release a flammable vapour at or below the highest allowable transport temperature. As shown in the update, there are no subdivisions within this class.

Common Examples of Class 3 Flammable Liquids

Here are the examples of Class 3 Flammable Liquids:

  • Acetone
  • Paints,  lacquers and varnishes
  • Alcohols
  • Perfumery products
  • Gasoline / Petrol
  • Diesel fuel
  • Aviation fuel
  • Liquid biofuels
  • Coal tar
  • Petroleum crude oil
  • Adhesives
  • Gas oil
  • Shale oil
  • Heating oil
  • Kerosene
  • Resins
  • Tars
  • Turpentine
  • Carbamate insecticides
  • Organochlorine pesticides
  • Organophosphorus pesticides
  • Copper based pesticides
  • Esters
  • Ethers
  • Ethanol
  • Benzene
  • Methanol
  • Octanes

Class 4: Flammable Solids

Flammable solids are materials that can easily catch fire or contribute to fires during transportation due to factors like friction. They can also include substances that react strongly and release heat or solid explosives that are not easily detonated.

Additionally, this category covers materials that can heat up on their own under normal transport conditions or when exposed to air, making them likely to catch fire. It also includes substances that emit flammable gases or can spontaneously catch fire when they come into contact with water.

The update further stated that there are three divisions for Class 4 dangerous goods:

  • Division 4.1: Flammable solids, self-reactive substances and solid desensitised explosives.
  • Division 4.2: Substances liable to spontaneous combustion. 
  • Division 4.3: Substances that are in contact with water emit flammable gases.

Common Examples of Class 4 Flammable Solids

Here are the examples of Class 4 Flammable Solids:

  • Alkali metals
  • Metal powders
  • Aluminium phosphide
  • Sodium batteries
  • Sodium cells
  • Firelighters
  • Matches
  • Calcium carbide
  • Camphor
  • Carbon
  • Activated carbon
  • Celluloid
  • Cerium
  • Copra
  • Seed cake
  • Oily cotton waste
  • Desensitised explosives
  • Oily fabrics
  • Oily fibres
  • Ferrocerium
  • Iron oxide (spent
  • Iron sponge/direct-reduced iron (spent)
  • Metaldehyde
  • Naphthalene
  • Nitrocellulose
  • Phosphorus
  • Sulphur

Class 5: Oxidising Substances and Organic Peroxides

According to hazardous materials guidelines, Oxidisers can induce or enhance combustion, typically by releasing oxygen through a redox chemical reaction.

On the other hand, organic peroxides can be considered compounds derived from hydrogen peroxide, where organic radicals replace one or both of the hydrogen atoms in the chemical structure.

There are two divisions for class 5 in the update, including:

  • Division 5.1: Oxidising substances 
  • Division 5.2: Organic peroxides 

Common Examples of Class 5 Oxidising Substances and Organic Peroxides

Here are the examples of Class 5 Oxidising Substances and Organic Peroxides:

  • Chemical oxygen generators
  • Ammonium nitrate fertilisers
  • Chlorates
  • Nitrates
  • Nitrites
  • Perchlorates
  • Permanganates
  • Persulphates
  • Aluminium nitrate
  • Ammonium dichromate
  • Ammonium nitrate
  • Ammonium persulphate
  • Calcium hypochlorite
  • Calcium nitrate
  • Calcium peroxide
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Magnesium peroxide
  • Lead nitrate
  • Lithium hypochlorite
  • Potassium chlorate
  • Potassium nitrate
  • Potassium chlorate
  • Potassium perchlorate
  • Potassium permanganate
  • Sodium nitrate
  • Sodium persulphate

Class 6: Toxic and Infectious Substances

Toxic substances are those that have the potential to either result in fatal or severe harm or pose a threat to human health when ingested, inhaled, or in contact with the skin. Contagious materials are those that are confirmed or can be reasonably anticipated to contain disease-causing agents.

Following regulations on hazardous materials, these agents encompass microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, rickettsiae, parasites, fungi, or other substances capable of inducing illnesses in humans or animals.

As for class 6, there are two divisions mentioned in the update, such as:

  • Division 6.1: Toxic substances 
  • Division 6.2: Infectious substances 

Common Examples of Class 6 Toxic and Infectious Substances

Here are the examples of Class 6 Toxic and Infectious Substances:

  • Medical/Biomedical waste
  • Clinical waste
  • Biological cultures / samples / specimens
  • Medical cultures / samples / specimens
  • Tear gas substances
  • Motor fuel anti-knock mixture
  • Dyes
  • Carbamate pesticides
  • Alkaloids
  • Allyls
  • Acids
  • Arsenates
  • Arsenites
  • Cyanides
  • Thiols/mercaptans
  • Cresols
  • Barium compounds
  • Arsenics / arsenic compounds
  • Beryllium/ beryllium compounds
  • Lead compounds
  • Mercury compounds
  • Nicotine / nicotine compounds
  • Selenium compounds
  • Antimony
  • Ammonium metavanadate
  • Adiponitrile
  • Chloroform
  • Dichloromethane
  • Hexachlorophene
  • Phenol
  • Resorcinol

Class 7: Radioactive Material

According to hazardous materials regulations, radioactive material is classified as any substance that contains radionuclides with activity concentrations and total activities surpassing predetermined thresholds. A radionuclide has an unstable nucleus, making it susceptible to radioactive decay. This class doesn’t have any divisions, as shown in the update.

Common Examples of Class 7 Radioactive Material

Here are the examples of Class 7 Radioactive Material:

  • Radioactive ores
  • Medical isotopes
  • Yellowcake
  • Density gauges
  • Mixed fission products
  • Surface contaminated objects
  • Caesium radionuclides / isotopes
  • Iridium radionuclides / isotopes
  • Americium radionuclides / isotopes
  • Plutonium radionuclides / isotopes
  • Radium radionuclides / isotopes
  • Thorium radionuclides / isotopes
  • Uranium radionuclides / isotopes
  • Depleted uranium / depleted uranium products
  • Uranium hexafluoride
  • Enriched Uranium

Class 8: Corrosives

Corrosive substances exhibit a remarkable level of reactivity, leading to pronounced chemical interactions. When these substances come into contact with other materials, they initiate chemical reactions that lead to the deterioration of the latter. In cases where this interaction involves living tissue, the consequences can be severe, causing substantial injury. As shown in the update, there are no divisions within class 8.

Common Examples of Class 8 Corrosives

Here are the examples of Class 8 Corrosives:

  • Acids/acid solutions
  • Batteries
  • Battery fluid
  • Fuel cell cartridges
  • Dyes
  • Fire extinguisher charges
  • Formaldehyde
  • Flux
  • Paints
  • Alkylphenols
  • Amines
  • Polyamines
  • Sulphides
  • Polysulphides
  • Chlorides
  • Chlorosilanes
  • Bromine
  • Cyclohexylamine
  • Phenol / carbolic acid
  • Hydrofluoric acid
  • Hydrochloric acid
  • Sulfuric acid
  • Nitric acid
  • Sludge acid
  • Hydrogen fluoride
  • Iodine
  • Morpholine

Class 9: Miscellaneous Dangerous Goods

Miscellaneous dangerous goods include substances and articles that, during transportation, pose risks or hazards that do not fall under the purview of other defined classes.

This category includes, without being exhaustive, environmentally hazardous materials, substances transported at elevated temperatures, various miscellaneous articles and substances, genetically modified organisms and micro-organisms, and, depending on the mode of transportation, magnetised materials and aviation-regulated substances. As for the divisions, the update shows that class 9 doesn’t have any.

Common Examples of Class 9 Miscellaneous Dangerous Goods

Here are the examples of Class 9 Miscellaneous Dangerous Goods:

  • Dry ice / cardice / solid carbon dioxide
  • Expandable polymeric beads / polystyrene beads
  • Ammonium nitrate fertilisers
  • Blue asbestos / crocidolite
  • Lithium ion batteries
  • Lithium metal batteries
  • Battery powered equipment
  • Battery powered vehicles
  • Fuel cell engines
  • Internal combustion engines
  • Vehicles
  • Magnetised material
  • Dangerous goods in apparatus
  • Dangerous goods in machinery
  • Genetically modified organisms
  • Genetically modified micro-organisms
  • Chemical kits
  • Nail Polish and Similar Chemicals
  • First aid kits
  • Life saving appliances
  • Air bag modules
  • Seatbelt pretensioners
  • Plastics moulding compound
  • Castor bean plant products
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls
  • Polychlorinated terphenyls
  • Dibromodifluoromethane
  • Benzaldehyde

If you encounter any issues during shipment, contact our support team at for further information and assistance.