The dangers posed by fake or counterfeit products from the Far East has received plenty of column inches in the UK media recently, but there is an equally worrying development in the chemical industry that is managing to slip under the authorities’ radar
Small samples of hazardous chemicals are being regularly packaged and labelled as non-hazardous substances by some Chinese manufacturers in order to avoid the additional cost and paperwork required to comply with International Air Transport Association (IATA) and IMDG Code regulations for the transportation of dangerous goods by air and sea.
Health and safety is being compromised to save money and the consequences could be fatal. The majority of chemical samples are transported internationally via passenger aircraft and many airlines are unknowingly handling flammable and toxic chemical samples labelled incorrectly. The practice is putting both airline employees and passengers at risk as well as those taking delivery of the samples.
Anyone opening a package that they believe contains non-hazardous chemicals could be exposed to dangerous liquids, powders or fumes. Workers are unlikely to have taken adequate precautions or to be wearing the correct personal protective equipment (PPE).