Because adhesives can be hazardous, toxic, or flammable, you should never ship any industrial grade adhesives without first taking the necessary steps to make sure you’re doing so safely, and legally.
Because of the regulations, and especially with recent tightening of certain regulations, we advise that, if possible, you try to buy epoxy, adhesive, or any other hazardous product from a distributor in your area before ordering an adhesive over the internet or through the mail. What’s legal in the manufacturer’s area might not be legal in yours, and even if it is, the red tape sometimes just isn’t worth it. So the following should serve as more of a Plan B.
Besides, the better manufacturers of sealants and adhesives, like Permabond, usually have a distributor’s directory on their websites, so it shouldn’t be hard to find cyanoacrylate glue, metal adhesives, or anything else you need without risking it.
Following the model put forth by the United Nations, the Department of Transport (DOT) divides hazardous materials into nine different classes, and mailing hazardous materials requires that you obtain a placard and make sure the contents of the package are clearly labelled on the package itself.
These classes are:
3. Flammable Liquids
4. Flammable Solids
5. Oxidizing Agents and Organic Peroxides
6. Toxic and Infectious Substances
7. Radioactive Substances
8. Corrosive Substances
Adhesives are, luckily, much easier to ship than many other hazardous materials or dangerous goods, but are still considered dangerous because of their toxicity and their flammability, placing them into classes 3 and 6.
If you’re shipping flammable, toxic adhesives out (check the label, it should give you all the info you need), you’ll need a class 3 flammable placard and a class 6 poisonous placard to place on the packaging. Where to go and who to see about being authorized and equipped with these placards is quite literally different in nearly every city, so we can only recommend that you speak to someone at the post office for further information.
Keep the Law in Mind!
Whatever you do, do not just stick the stuff in an unmarked box and hope they don’t find out! In many places, it’s considered a felony to ship unmarked hazardous materials.
When having adhesives shipped to you, make sure the person sending it knows what they’re doing, as well. If they don’t know already, tell them. Receiving unmarked chemicals in the mail looks just as bad to the postal service, and the federal government, as sending the stuff.
Be Smart, and Exercise Caution
It may seem like a lot of worry over nothing. It is just glue, after all. To be fair, ninety nine percent of the time, you probably could get away with sneaking hazardous chemicals through the mail, but because of that one percent chance of possibly doing some serious jail time, it really isn’t worth the risk.
How to Pack it
Different countries have different regulations on how a hazardous product should be packaged, and it would take forever to list every single one of them. The easiest way to make sure you’re covered is to first, never send an unsealed container. If you’ve already popped the cap on the adhesive, it’s yours, you can’t ship it. Second, you should put it inside of a box, preferably filled with packing peanuts, bubble wrap, or some other shock absorber, and then put that box inside of a bigger box, also filled with shock absorber. The person receiving it may be initially confused, but many countries require this measure be practiced before shipping is allowed.