Shipping Infectious Specimens

Category A Infectious Substances (UN2814 or UN 2900)
Category B Infectious Substances (UN3373)
Dry Ice (UN 1845)
Non-Regulated Materials and Exempt Human Specimens – General Guidelines

Method of Transport

Determine how you will transport the specimen. Refer to the list below to determine which packaging and shipping regulations apply.

United States Postal Service (US Mail)
Domestic Mail Manual; Section 601, Mailability, Part 10.0 Hazardous Materials
NOTE: Category A Infectious Substances are NOT MAILABLE
               10.17.4:    Category B Infectious Substances (UN3373)
               10.17.8:   Non-Regulated
               10.17.9:   Exempt Human or Animal Specimens
               10.20.4  : Dry Ice(UN1845)  
            Domestic Mail Manual Section 601, Part 10, Hazardous Materials

Hospital or Private Courier
Transport of Category A and Category B infectious substances may be transported Ground following the applicable transport regulations below.
US Department of Transportation 49 CFR: 171-178
Category A Infectious Substances (UN2814) 49 CFR 173.196
Category B Infectious Substances (UN3373) 49 CFR 173.199
Dry Ice (UN1845)  49 CFR 173.217

FedEx or other Air Carrier
International Air Transport Association (IATA) Dangerous Goods Regulations:
Category A Infectious Substances (UN2814) Packing Instruction 602
Category B Infectious Substances (UN3373) Packing Instruction 650
Dry Ice (UN1845) Packing Instruction 904
IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (for purchase only)

Vehicles dedicated to the transport of diagnostic specimens
US Department of Transportation 49 CFR: 173.134 (10)

Healthcare worker (Materials of Trade)
US Department of Transportation 49 CFR: 173.6

Transport Method: Federal, state or local government agent
Transportation of a hazardous material in a motor vehicle, aircraft, or vessel operated by a federal, state, or local government employee solely for noncommercial federal, state, or local government purposes.
United States Department Of Transportation 49 CFR: 171.1 (14)(4)(d)(5)

Shipper’s/Employer’s Responsibilities
The shipper is required to classify, identify, package, label, mark, document and make arrangements according to the specified regulation. The employer is responsible for certification of the shippers and maintenance of appropriate documentation.

  • Classify : Using the criteria outlined in the regulations, determine if the sample should be shipped as a Biological Substance Category B (UN3373), Infectious Substance, Category A (UN2814 or UN2900) or as an Exempt material.
  • Identify : Use internationally recognized name and UN number.
  • Pack : Select the right materials and use them appropriately
  • Label : Use the USDOT hazard labels and handling labels as needed
  • Mark : Mark shipper and consignee information, and sample information.
  • Document : Fill out shipping papers as specified.
  • Make Arrangements :Make sure consignee is notified that a sample is being shipped.

Shipper’s Certification
According to USDOT and IATA, shippers of HAZMAT, including Category A infectious substances (UN2814 or UN 2900), are required by law to be certified by their employers as shippers. This certification requires that the shipper be trained and tested and that the employer keep a record of the shippers training to include a description of the training, date and time, and proof that the shipper has passed a test.

Shippers of Category B infectious substances must be familiar with USDOT Regulation 49 CFR 173.199, IATA Dangerous Goods Packing Instruction 650 and USPS Regulation 601:10.17.4 IATA and the College of American Pathologists (CAP) requires recertification every two (2) years, USDOT every three (3) years.
United States Department of Transportation Training Requirements 49CFR: 172.704

Last Reviewed: 9/6/2016