How Chemicals Are Classified In China

Why Are Chemicals Classified Before Shipping?

As in the United Nations, chemicals are classified into two categories in China: Non-Hazardous and Dangerous types.

Why would you want to know how chemicals are classified before your import?

#1. Chinese Customs have to know

The safety information of the specific chemical will be required and declared when the chemicals are passing through Chinese Customs before shipping.

Customs officials would make sure all the chemicals are properly packed and labeled accordingly.

If some exporters handle and export dangerous chemicals without authorization certificates, there will be heavy fines from the market bureau.

#2. The Shipping company needs to make sure of safe shipping by air or by sea.

All the shippers of the chemicals, whether the goods are to be shipped by sea or by air, by rail or truck, or by courier, have to inform the shipping company of the physical and chemical properties of their chemical goods.

Take the courier company FedEx for example: before they pick up the chemical from you, they would make sure that your chemical is safe to be shipped by air, which means that you will have to show them the certificate of safe air transportation issued by DGM or other authorities.

If what you are sending is a dangerous chemical, FedEx will reject the pick-up.

Fire from warehouses in airports or seaports is not news anymore.

The reason: exporters or freight agents did not declare the goods honestly.

Then the worst scenario: packing got broken and a big fire started, many containers were destroyed during the disaster.

The exact type of chemicals is required to be labeled accordingly on the carton by Chinese Customs, or the officials will not let them pass through the Chinese Customs.

Meanwhile, if the chemicals are not properly labeled and formally declared, the relevant chemicals will cause serious Import clearance issues in the destination Customs, too.

Non-hazardous chemicals are treated as common goods such as books, clothes, etc.

These chemicals categorized as air, courier, etc can ship NOT-DANGEROUS with the Certificate of Safe Transport for Chemicals.

No alarming or special labels are required and stuck as those below:

hazardous type 1~2 labels
hazardous type 2~4 labels
hazardous type 5~7 labels
hazardous type 9 labels

Chemical Classifications

You can see from the labels of the dangerous goods that those hazardous Chemicals are classified as below:

Class 1: Explosives

Division 1.1 Substances and articles have a mass explosion hazard.

Division 1.2 Substances and articles have a projection hazard, but not a mass explosion hazard.

Division 1.3 Substances and articles have a fire hazard and either a minor blast hazard a minor projection hazard or both, but not a mass explosion hazard.

Division 1.4 Substances and articles present no significant hazard.

Division 1.5 Very insensitive substances have a mass explosion hazard.

Division 1.6 Extremely insensitive articles do not have a mass explosion hazard.

Class 2 Gases

Division 2.1 Flammable gases.

Hydrogen is one of the flammable gases.

Division 2.2 Non-flammable and non-toxic gases.

Nitrogen is not flammable or toxic

Division 2.3 Toxic gases.

Chlorine is a common toxic gas in our daily life.

Class 3: Flammable liquids

Class 4: Flammable solids

The substance is liable to spontaneous combustion Substances which in contact with water emit flammable gases

Division 4.1 Flammable solids, self-reactive substances, and Solid desensitized explosives.

Division 4.2 Substances are liable to spontaneous combustion.

Division 4.3 Substances in contact with water emit flammable gases.

Class 5 Oxidizing substances and organic peroxides

Division 5.1 Oxidizing substances.

Division 5.2 Organic peroxides.

Class 6: Toxic and infectious substances

Division 6.1: Toxic substances.

Division 6.2: Infectious substances.

Class 7: Radioactive materials

Class 8: Corrosive substances

Class 9: Miscellaneous dangerous substances and articles including environmentally hazardous substances

The numerical order of the classes and divisions has nothing to do with the danger degree.

Many of the substances assigned to classes 1 to 9 are deemed without additional labeling as being environmentally hazardous.

Wastes shall be transported under the requirements of the appropriate class considering their hazards and criteria in these regulations.

Wastes not otherwise subject to these regulations, but covered under the Basel Convention may be transported on Class 9.

So if your chemical supplier tells you that a certain product is some type of hazardous chemical, you can cross-check each hazardous type and make sure you are not overcharged by their bluffing.

Any readers who have different ideas are welcome to share their thoughts by emailing us or leaving us a message.

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