What you’ll learn
Running an Amazon business is a lot of work. And many times, it can be downright frustrating, especially when Amazon categorizes your products as hazmat (hazardous materials) or dangerous goods (DG).
The Amazon hazmat review can feel like a nightmare as your inventory isn’t sellable, requires countless paperwork back and forth to get it fixed and you’ll pay expensive dangerous goods fees until it gets fixed.
In this post, you will learn what Amazon hazmat is, the rules, and what types of products are hazmat. I will also walk you through the quiz Amazon makes sellers take.
What are hazmat products on Amazon?
Hazmat products pose a risk during storing, handling, or transporting because they contain flammable, pressurized, corrosive, or otherwise harmful substances. It’s potentially hazardous to the environment, property, safety, and health at any point in the distribution process. If your products are in these categories, there is a high chance Amazon will mark them as dangerous goods.
The categories are:
- Beauty and personal care
- Consumer electronics
- Food and beverages
- Health and household
- Home improvement
- Pet products
- Sports and outdoor
- Video games
It’s essentially every physical category because any physical product can be deemed hazardous.
Anything with a battery could explode, anything with liquids could be corrosive, and anything with gasses is dangerous. You can see how it applies to every category.
There are examples of hazmat products according to Amazon Seller Central. The following is an extensive list, but it is still only touching the surface.
Hats and vests with rechargeable batteries
Apparel stain remover
Engine and tire care
Interior and paint care
Oils and fluids
Spillable and non-spillable batteries
Magazines with beauty product samples
E-books devices, e-readers
Baby grooming and skincare
|Beauty and personal care
Self-tanning lotions and sprays
Antiseptics and disinfectants
Verruca and wart treatments
Cleaning cartridges (electric shavers)
Hair removal solutions and treatments
Shaving creams or foams
Chargers and batteries
Food and beverages
Aromatic essential oils
Products with high alcohol content
Foods in pressurized container / aerosol format (e.g., whipped cream)
Health and household
Cleansers and cleaners
Dishwashing liquids and powders
Laundry liquids and powders
Pest and insect control
Cartridges and toners
Tape, adhesives and glue
Markers, highlighters, pens and refills
Ear and eye care
Flea, fly, mosquito, lice and tick control
Aquarium glass cleaners
Aquarium water treatments and test kits
Sole and shoe stain remover
Sports and outdoor
E-bikes and e-scooters
Bike tools and equipment
Spillable and non-spillable batteries
Arts and crafts
Painting and repair kits
Kits with sprays
Wireless and Bluetooth headset
In most cases, Amazon applies a sweeping brush and marks thousands of products as hazmat overnight. Listings are marked as dangerous good before it is even live.
You then need to resubmit or provide additional documentation to clear your products. There are many cases where something like a best-selling hair brush is flagged as hazmat and taken down overnight.
What hazmat products cannot be sold through FBA?
Amazon’s guide to what cannot be sold through FBA is extensive and must be read.
If your product has any of these labels in the SDS, you will not be able to sell it.
These are highly toxic and dangerous products that can easily hurt or kill someone if mishandled.
- Potent acids
- Gas filled canisters
How do I know if my product is classified as hazmat?
If your product is in review or classified as a dangerous good, it will show in the list
From this list, you can click the dispute classification button and upload your SDS or supporting documentation.
If you want to check whether a competitor’s product is a hazmat or not, you can search the ASIN from this page.
Being proactive with potential hazmat listings
If you don’t want to find one of your best sellers with a deactivated listing, it’s best to be proactive instead of reactive.
Rather than waiting until something happens to your product and listing and then submitting an SDS, you should first submit the SDS as soon as the listing is created.
Before all the content is complete, or the images are made, you can upload a basic image of the product and upload the SDS or exemption documentation immediately.
This should be the first step of any product listing before you get into the details.
This way, if Amazon comes back and blocks your product, you know ahead of time that there is going to be an issue which means rethinking whether you should continue with the product.
Submit SDS and exemptions first, not later.
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Will hazmat impact your sales?
Hazmat certainly impacts your sales and listing conversion rate.
Once Amazon flags your products as a dangerous good, your inventory will be stuck for weeks as they take it off their regular fulfillment system and automatically transfer the goods to a “hazmat capable facility”.
The transfer to a hazmat facility takes at least 2 weeks, and then if you manage to get the product approved as non-DG again, Amazon now has to transfer the inventory again from the hazmat FC to regular fulfillment centers which takes another 2 weeks minimum.
This means you are going to have little to no sales for 4 weeks at a minimum.
See above why it’s so important to be proactive with potentially hazmat flagged products.
What happens when products are flagged as hazmat?
Once Amazon marks your products as dangerous goods, here’s what happens.
1. Listings are paused or deactivated
The Amazon algorithm will pause, suppress or deactivate your listing until the manual review is complete. Having a specific word in the listing could trigger your listing being taken down by the algorithms.
Avoid any hazmat words in your listings.
You are not given any notice or warnings if your product is taken down for review.
It just happens one morning, so it’s best to be proactive with submitting documents early on through the Manage Dangerous Goods page.
2. SDS or MSDS exemption required
Amazon requires that you provide a Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS Exemption) or an SDS from your manufacturer.
If it is not a liquid product, submit the MSDS exemption form and submit.
If you are submitting an SDS, make sure that it meets OSHA standards.
- All 16 standard safety data sheet SDS sections must be included.
- All your supplier information must also be included.
- The details of your exemption form must correspond to your product listing (for example, your SDS product name must be the same as the ASIN title – important
- The SDS form is younger than 5 years
This is an example of an SDS.
It is also important to know that Amazon’s hazmat review people are NOT OSHA certified or experts. They are merely trained to look at specific sections and to check off whether all the sections are filled properly or not.
We have had countless experiences where the SDS is 100% squeaky clean, but Amazon kept rejecting it because it didn’t match their template. The team does not look or understand anything related to the actual chemical components, labeling requirements, ingredients.
You could submit an SDS for H2O (water) and they will reject it if it doesn’t match their SDS template.
Make sure your supplier understands this about Amazon’s culture and is able to “fix” things on the SDS.
3. Hazmat classification and review process
Once you have submitted your product documentation for review, Amazon says they will do it in two business days, but from experience, Amazon needs four days for the hazmat review team to do their job.
Do NOT resubmit again as it will reset the four-day review window.
At the end of the review process, your product will be classified as:
- Non-DG: Non-Dangerous Good. Amazon has not found your goods to be dangerous to the environment, health, and property.
- Restricted DG: You have to enroll in the FBA Dangerous Goods Program for Amazon to deliver your products to your customers. Your existing inventory will be moved to a fulfillment center that is designated to handle dangerous goods. The FBA team will be responsible for transferring your inventory to the fulfillment center.
- Unfulfillable DG: This means your inventory is too dangerous for Amazon to deliver to your customers. It also means that your products contain flammable pressurized corrosive. This is the worst situation and you have to create a removal order. Then sell it through FBM or other channels. Otherwise, Amazon will automatically dispose of your inventory after 5 business days if you have not made any attempt to remove them. You still have the option to request another hamzat review if you are not satisfied with the outcome of the review process.
Questions you’ll have to answer
Amazon prioritizes the issue of safety. As such, the company requires you to answer a set of questions in these two specific areas, dangerous goods regulations, and battery.
Dangerous good regulations questionnaire
Amazon requires you to provide information based on these criteria during FBA listing creation. Questions will differ based on your category, but here are the common ones.
- What’s your product UN number?
- Is your inventory considered hazardous material regulated for waste, storage, transportation, or dangerous goods?
- What’s your product volume
- What’s your product weight
- Did your manufacturer provide you with a Safety Data Sheet?
- Does your inventory or goods fall into CLP/GHS standards?
If your product uses batteries, expect to provide answers to these questions:
- What’s the battery weight?
- How many batteries will power your product?
- What type of battery does your product need?
- Can the product function without a battery?
- Are they removable batteries?
- Are they sold separately?
- What makes up the batteries?
How can you sell hazmat products?
It is not the end of the world if Amazon marks your products as dangerous goods. You can better manage hazmat products by following these tips:
Create an alternative SKU with Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM)
If Amazon marks your products as dangerous goods, you can immediately create an alternative SKU for FBM to continue selling your product.
Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM) gives you complete control over your shipping and inventory management instead of allowing Amazon to dictate the pace when orders come in. One advantage with FBM is that you won’t pay any service charge to Amazon, but you have to handle all the fulfillment and shipping. If your product is big and heavy, it will get very expensive.
Request more storage through Seller Central Support
Your hazmat fulfillment option may be affected when your product has been designated as dangerous goods. The inventory restocking and storage capacity is limited for DG products.
You have to request more storage space through Seller Central Support.
Stay on top of your inventory management
The best way to solve Amazon hazmat reviews is to use the right documentation.
If you find the process too difficult, hire someone who can handle all the documentation work and keep you in compliance. Often there are a lot of discussions required with the manufacturer to check the SDS is correct before submitting it to Amazon.
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