While it’s perfectly legal to carry and ship pepper spray, these bottles contain materials that USPS considers hazardous. Pepper sprays are a unique item since they can technically be classified as both an aerosol and a corrosive, which fall into two different hazard classes. Regardless of determining which hazard class pepper spray belongs to, ground transportation is the only option to ship it with USPS.
Table of Contents
- You Have to Ship Pepper Spray via USPS Ground Service
- Include the Proper Markings On Your Package
- You Can’t Ship Pepper Spray Internationally
You Have to Ship Pepper Spray via USPS Ground Service
According to their website, USPS defines pepper spray as toxic materials and infectious substances. Therefore, the Postal Service groups pepper spray into Hazard Class 6, which you can see in the USPS Hazard Classes. Since this is the case, the best option is to ship them via USPS ground service. Retail Ground will be the selected service at the Post Office, and Parcel Select Ground with online shipping software.
Note that USPS ground services take much longer for delivery than other air-based services such as Priority Mail and First Class Package. Typically, delivery timeframes for USPS ground services range anywhere from 3 to 8 business days.
The Exception to the Rule
While ground service is the simplest way to go for pepper spray shipments, there are rare exceptions where you can ship via an air-based service such as First Class Package or Priority Mail. Specifically, you’re able to use air-based services if your aerosol receptacles are non-flammable and meet the qualifications for Consumer Commodity.
If you decide to use an air-based service to send pepper spray, you’ll need to meet the following guidelines:
- Affix a Limited Quantity Y Label and ID-8000, Class Hazard Class 9, Consumer Commodity sticker on your outer packaging
- Include a Declaration of Dangerous Goods inside your package
- Follow the Postal Service’s packaging instructions for guidance and make sure you’re in line with USPS specifications before shipping
Even if you intend to follow along with the above three guidelines, we don’t recommend pursuing air-based services for pepper spray shipments due to the sheer amount of time it will take you to properly prepare these packages. In our opinion, the best practice is to stick with USPS ground and call it a day.
For more information on whether your pepper spray qualifies for air-based services, check out our post on shipping aerosols with USPS.
Include the Proper Markings On Your Package
Since pepper spray is a hazardous material traveling via ground transportation, you’ll need to affix specific markings to your shipment. Firstly, you’ll want to stick the Limited Quantity Label onto your box or envelope. Secondly, clearly write “Surface Transportation Only” on the outside of your package. Once you’ve followed these two steps, you’re set to ship!
You Can’t Ship Pepper Spray Internationally
Ground services allow you to ship to any of the 50 United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. However, since it’s a toxic hazardous material that requires you to use only ground service in most cases, you can’t send pepper spray internationally with USPS. Certain countries may ban pepper spray from being imported altogether, and you can check to see if the country you intend to ship to allows it or not in the USPS individual country listings.
As a general rule of thumb, neither aerosols nor corrosives can travel via international air transport…no matter which shipping carrier you use.