The FAA would really like Amazon to stop shipping packages that could combust

Don’t explode.
Don’t explode.
Image: Reuters/Rick Wilking
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The US Federal Aviation Administration said on Monday (June 13) that it is seeking to charge Amazon a $350,000 civil penalty for allegedly violating hazardous materials regulations.

At issue is a package that the FAA says Amazon shipped through UPS on Oct. 15, 2014. That package allegedly contained one gallon of “Amazing! LIQUID FIRE,” a heavy duty, sulfuric acid-based drain cleaner, and things did not go well. Here’s the FAA’s version of the story:

While being transported, some of the Liquid Fire leaked through the fiberboard box. Nine UPS employees who came into contact with the box reported feeling a burning sensation and were treated with a chemical wash.

The FAA further alleges that Amazon’s shipment was not packaged properly, nor was it labeled for hazardous materials. On top of this, the FAA says that Amazon has a history of violating the hazardous materials regulations—running afoul of the rules two dozen times from February 2013 to September 2015. One of those incidents in 2013, involving a package containing a flammable liquid adhesive sent by air on FedEx, ultimately resulted in Amazon paying the FAA a penalty of $91,000.

The administration says it is “continuing to investigate Amazon’s compliance with the Hazardous Materials Regulations applicable to air transportation.”

Amazon said in a statement that it takes “the safety of our cargo delivery partners seriously” and has “developed sophisticated technologies to detect potential shipping hazards.” The company added that it will “continue to partner with the FAA in this area.”

Meanwhile, “Amazing! LIQUID FIRE” is still available for purchase on Amazon, where it has 13 reviews and an average of 4.5 stars.

This story was updated to include a statement from Amazon.