How to ship an inhaler

Yeah, it’s worth a how-to. It was that complicated… until it wasn’t.

Ok, here’s the bottom line: I used FedEx overnight (air) for US-domestic, shipped an inhaler with about 120 puffs, found a “station” to ship from, and had to write exactly this on the package, which I marked as NOT dangerous/hazardous:

“Not restricted as per special provision A98.”

IMG_8831Here are the details. The devil is in them.

1) This provision is for inhalers that are under a certain milliliter size. I was told it would be printed on the inhaler, but I couldn’t find it (on a Dulera daily inhaler). I saw that the delivery was something like 5 micrograms, so I surmised this would also be under the milliliters. If it wasn’t, fuck it. I was finished fiddling with it by then, and my guy was having asthma attacks as I dithered away at FedEx counters.

2) The regular FedEx office (where I went first) told me that the inhaler was a hazardous good. Don’t believe them. The provision says it’s exempt. The end. Or if you want, believe them, run around town trying to find a “station”, call FedEx 3 times, get connected (and disconnected, and re-connected, and then call again) to the hazardous materials guys. They will cite you the special provision, read its legalese to you, then ask you if your inhaler is under the size limit (as in #1 above). If you’re just sending an inhaler to a kid at camp, I think you’re gonna be fine. And as in #1, fuck it. Someone you love needs to breathe asap.

3) Regular FedEx offices can’t accept hazardous goods. You need to find a special “station”, and a normal FedEx place can tell you where that is. Right, this isn’t a hazardous good, and you fall under the provision, as stated ever-so-clearly on your package, but last thing you want is them rejecting your package at the last second. Go to the station. Oh, they also tell you that you can arrange a home pickup for your package. I tried that, too, and the driver refused it. In the end, I went to the station after hours of running around, phone calls, and utter frustration and worry. Skip all that and just go to a station. Even if you have to drive an hour, you’ll save all that time. It took me about 7.5 hours of phone calls and getting across town a few times before I finally made it to the station. If I’d just gone to begin with, I’d have saved about 6 hours.

4) Why FedEx? You might be able to deliver somewhere else overnight, and for cheaper. I had to use them because that’ s who was delivering next day to the in-the-boonies location I had to get my inhaler to. It cost me fifty bucks, but if my asthmatic had a serious attack while waiting for his package a day later to save me twenty? Yeah right. I gladly paid the fifty.

That was ridiculous. In the end? Inhaler arrived just fine and my asthmatic is still extremely alive.

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3 thoughts on “How to ship an inhaler

  1. What exactly is provision A98? Is there any way I can actually read about this? I need to ship an inhaler to a friend who left it with me by accident and I’m getting anxious just reading this post.

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