Biological Materials Shipping
Research materials shipped domestically and internationally are subject to a number of Federal, State and Local regulations. If these regulations are not followed, shipping will be delayed and the package will be returned to the sender or destroyed and the individual cited for non-compliance and subject to civil and/or criminal penalties.
Select one of the links below for more information:
Note: An application for importation must be submitted to the NIH Quarantine Permit Service Officer (QPSO) when importing biological products, diagnostic, or infectious materials into the United States. An application for importation must be submitted for the transfer of previously permitted imported material. When sending any and all biological material from NIH facilities to an overseas destination, an export declaration must be signed by an NIH QPSO.
All packaging must comply with the Department of Transportation (DOT) , the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) dangerous goods regulations. Federal and international regulations require that the packager successfully complete job-specific training and be certified to ship biological products, diagnostic or infectious materials.
Questions should be directed to the NIH QPSO at (301) 496-2960.
Shipping Biological Products
Biological products are divided into two subcategories:
- Those which contain pathogens in Risk Group 1; those which contain pathogens under such conditions that their ability to produce disease is very low to none; and those known not to contain pathogens.
- Those products, derived from living organisms, which are manufactured and packaged in accordance with the requirements of national health authorities and transported for the purpose of final packaging or distribution and used for personal health care by medical professionals or individuals.
These materials are NOT restricted and are not considered Dangerous Goods. Contact the Freight Forwarding Section
to receive information on how to package these materials. Your laboratory sample may never arrive at its destination if it is improperly packaged, labeled or declared. Freight Forwarding Section can be reached at (301) 496-5921.
Labeling and Shipping Manifest Instructions
The total package should be brought to the Freight Forwarding Section in Building 13, Room 1759. At the Freight Forwarding Section, they will inspect the package to make sure that it is packed correctly. The Freight Forwarding Section will provide any stickers and labels that are needed. The Freight Forwarding Section will fill out the shipping manifest.
Shipping Diagnostic Specimens
Diagnostic packages (UN 650) must be packaged by a trained and certified shipper using approved packing materials.
- When packaging liquids, there must be sufficient absorbent material placed between the primary container and the secondary container to contain a leak from the primary container.
- CAUTION, if dry ice is used, the package must permit the release of carbon-dioxide gas. Dry ice is a Dangerous Good and must be properly declared and packaged.
Labeling and Shipping Manifest Instructions
The package should be brought to the Freight Forwarding Section
in Building 13, Room 1759. Freight Forwarding Section can be reached at (301) 496-5921. The Freight Forwarding Section will provide any stickers and labels that are needed to correctly mark and label the package as a diagnostic specimen. They will also complete the shipping manifest. Your laboratory sample may never arrive at its destination if it is improperly packaged, labeled or declared.
Shipping Infectious Materials
Your laboratory sample may never arrive at its destination if it is improperly packaged, labeled or declared. All infectious materials must be packaged by a trained and certified individual according to IATA regulations using specific packaging, labeling, markings and documentation.
All packages must go through the Freight Forwarding Section
located in Building 13, Room 1759. Freight Forwarding Section can be reached at (301) 496-5921. Proper packaging supplies may be purchased through any vendor selling United Nations (UN 6.2) certified packaging materials.
Resources for Shipping Biological Materials
NIH Policy Manual Chapters
Additional Training Information*
Links for Shipping Materials*
Links to Other Resources*
*Disclaimer:The Office of Research Services, Division of Occupational Health and Safety (DOHS) does not endorse or recommend any commercial products, processes, or services. The DOHS website provides links to other Internet sites for informational purposes. When users select a link to an external web site, they are leaving the DOHS website and are subject to the privacy and security policies of the owners/sponsors of the external site.