Folsom, CA, November 20, 2007Consumers can help Santa have a safe trip this holiday season by avoiding unintentionally shipping hazardous items among their gifts, according to Associated Mail and Parcel Centers (AMPC), the largest national trade association of private mail and parcel shipping centers.


Most consumers are probably unaware that, for example, certain types of cosmetics that are popular gift items are considered hazardous and prohibited from being shipped by air because of their low flash points at high altitudes, warns Sandra Giarde executive director of AMPC, which represents more than 3,000 independently owned retail packing and shipping center member-locations across the country.


These are obviously very popular holiday gifts, and while consumers generally do not intentionally ship dangerous items, there have been incidents where hazardous, illegal, prohibited, dangerous and restricted (HIPDR) items have posed a threat to the safety of the personnel and equipment, including aircraft and trucks, of the US Postal Service or commercial carriers, said Giarde.


Giarde said AMPC recently held meetings across the country where Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Agency representatives educated AMPC member store owners about identifying and minimizing the risks of shipping hazmat items. 


With cooperation from the US Department of Transportation, the FAA and Department of Homeland Security, our industry is informing our customers about the potential problems caused by the improper shipment of hazardous items, said Giarde, and dangerous items are not always easy to recognize.


She said that AMPC member store owners are trained to be diligent in accepting and tendering packages for shipment, and increasing their customers awareness of the items that are considered hazardous.  She added that most AMPC member retail pack and ship locations have wall posters and counter mats that clearly depict the types of items deemed hazardous for shipping. Many AMPC member stores will soon have available a new USDOT consumer pamphlet that identifies undeclared hazardous items that are commonly shipped.


Giarde said that last year fewer than one half of one percent of prepacked parcels presented for shipping at AMPC store member locations contained hazardous or prohibited/restricted/illegal contents, and in almost all instances, the consumer or commercial sender was not aware that the items they wanted to ship are considered hazardous.


For example, auto body touch up paint, even in small quantities, while seemingly innocuous, is classified as an HIPDR item when being shipped, said Giarde.


To be confident that the gifts youre sending are securely boxed for shipping, bring them into any AMPC member pack and ship retail location where the owner will expertly provide the right packing and shipping solution, said Giarde.


The cost is more than worth it since youre also getting the added value of peace of mind that your holiday gifts are packed professionally and will safely arrive. The pack and ship store owner can also identify any item that is considered hazardous for shipping, said Giarde.


The USDOT warns that shipping undeclared hazmat endangers everybody in the transportation chain and carries legal penalties. So dont be part of the problem when you ship a packagebe part of the solution.


Information is also available at the USDOT website:



About Associated Mail and Parcel Centers (AMPC)


Founded in 1982, Associated Mail and Parcel Centers provides programs of advocacy, information, education and certification, and group representation for small business retailers specializing in mail and parcel shipping services. Member locations offer a combination of USPS, DHL, UPS, and FedEx shipping, packing services, and related retail and business products.


Membership in AMPC is open to manufacturers, distributors, and retail stores whose businesses provide products and services associated with the mail and parcel shipping industry. For more information, please go to