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Dangerous goods facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts

Dangerous goods (DG in short) are substances that when transported pose risk to health, safety, property and the environment. Certain dangerous goods pose risk even when not being transported. These are known as hazardous materials (HAZMAT or hazmat for short).

Hazardous material is often subject under chemical regulations. Examples of dangerous goods are biological hazards, flammable, explosive material, corrosive substances and allergens.

The packing groups

Corrugated box - haz mat
Doublewall corrugated fiberboard box with dividers for shipping four bottles of corrosive liquid, UN 4G, certified performance for Packing Group III

Packing groups are used for the purpose of determining the degree of protective packaging required for dangerous goods during transportation.

  • Group I: great danger, and most protective packaging required. Some combinations of different classes of dangerous goods on the same vehicle or in the same container are forbidden if one of the goods is Group I.
  • Group II: medium danger
  • Group III: minor danger among regulated goods, and least protective packaging within the transportation requirement

The training

Permit cards or licenses that are used with hazmat training must be shown if requested by officials.

By country/region


The transportation of dangerous goods (hazardous material) in Canada by road is normally a province jurisdiction. The federal government in Canada have jurisdiction over air, most marine and most rail transport. The federal government acting centrally created the federal transportation of dangerous goods and regulations. Creation of the federal regulations was coordinated under Transport Canada. The hazard classification is based under the UN model.


The European Union passed several directives and regulations. They did so for avoiding wide-spreading and for restricting the use of hazardous substances. The most important ones were the Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive and the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals.

The European law clearly tells the difference between the law of dangerous goods and the law of hazardous material. The earlier refers mainly to the transport of the respective goods. That includes interim storage, if caused by the transport. The latter refers to requirements of storage (which would include the warehousing) and usage of hazardous materials. The difference is very important, because different directives and orders of European law are applied.

The United States

For reasons involving increases in terrorism just after the September 11 attacks in 2001, funding for greater hazmat-handling went up across the United States. It was recognized that flammable, poisonous and explosive material could be used for further terrorist attacks.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates hazardous materials, for they may impact a community and an environment.

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