Shipment of Biohazardous Materials

Transportation of Hazardous Materials/Dangerous Goods, including biohazardous materials, requires training and certification to prepare, ship, and receive Hazardous Materials/Dangerous Goods. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) regulate shipping of Hazardous Materials/Dangerous Goods (see Table). The IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations govern air transport of Hazardous Materials/Dangerous Goods worldwide. In addition to the brief overview below, the Institutional Biological Safety Manual provides entity-specific information on shipments of Hazardous Materials/Dangerous Goods.

Examples of biohazardous materials subject to Dangerous Goods Regulations
Category A (UN 2814 or UN 2900)

Infectious substance that upon exposure is capable of causing permanent disability, or a life-threatening or fatal disease in otherwise healthy humans or animals.

Category B (UN 3373)

Substances that do not contain infectious pathogens or substances that are unlikely to cause disease in humans or animals.

Exempt Human Specimens

Clinical patient specimens for which there is minimal likelihood that the specimens contain infectious pathogens.

Exempt Animal Specimens

Animal specimens for which there is minimal likelihood that the specimens contain infectious pathogens.

Environmental Health and Safety (EnvH&S) must review and approve all packages of Hazardous Materials/Dangerous Goods prior to shipment. EnvH&S provides guidance on Hazardous Materials Shipping to assist investigators in preparing Dangerous Goods packages. EnvH&S will ensure all research and clinical packages are packaged, marked and labeled in accordance with applicable local, state and federal regulations. The Principal Investigator (PI) or designated Laboratory Safety Officer (LSO) must e-mail a completed HazMat Shipping Approval Form to EnvH&S at least 24 hours prior to the expected shipping date for Category A or Category B packages. The PI must complete the Export Checklist if controlled biologics are shipped anywhere outside the United States (including Canada). 

Laboratories may arrange shipment of Category B packages if the individual involved in preparing and packaging of dangerous goods is compliant with IATA training requirements for Division 6.2, Infectious Substances. Training certification for Division 6.2, Infectious Substances, is valid for two years or until regulatory changes are implemented and must be retaken at that time if needed. EnvH&S must inspect and approve Category A packages before they are received by the transportation courier.