Shipping Hazardous Materials and Dangerous Goods:
*Includes packages containing dry ice, ethanol or methanol for sample preservation
You are responsible for adhering to hazardous material shipping regulations and for properly packaging and labeling shipments of hazardous material. You must be identified as the shipper on all hazardous materials shipping labels and paperwork. Please note that all hazardous materials must leave Alaska by air. The information on this page is meant to help you prepare your samples for shipment, but is by no means the final word. Please reference Hazardous Materials Shipping Regulation 49 CFR 173 for complete guidelines.
Shipping packages containing small amounts (<2 kg) of dry ice:
Packages containing less than 2 kg (2 blocks) of dry ice may be shipped under the Hazardous Materials Shipping Regulation 49 CFR 173.4a for excepted quantities. In short, this requires external application of both an excepted quantity and a miscellaneous hazard warning label to two, opposite vertical faces of each package. Each label must be at least 4x4”, and the weight of dry ice must be entered on the hazard warning label. The package must allow for gas venting. For this reason styrofoam coolers with loose fitting lids, packed within a cardboard box are preferred over plastic coolers with gasketed or tightly fitting lids. If shipping in a cardboard box, simply punch a few small holes in the outter box to allow gas to escape.
Shipping packages containing small amounts (<1 L) of flammable liquid:
Shipping samples preserved in flammable liquid such as ethanol is done most easily by following Hazardous Materials Safety Regulation 49 CFR 173.4b – De minimis exceptions. Under this regulation, small quantities (<1 L total) of flammable liquid may be classed by material, and shipped by air as long as the following packaging, marking and documentation provisions, as applicable, are met:
“(1) The specimens are:
(i) Wrapped in a paper towel or cheesecloth moistened with alcohol or an alcohol solution and placed in a plastic bag that is heat-sealed. Any free liquid in the bag must not exceed 30 mL; or
(ii) Placed in vials or other rigid containers (*see specifications below) with no more than 30 mL of alcohol or alcohol solution. The containers are placed in a plastic bag that is heat-sealed;
(2) The bagged specimens are placed in another plastic bag with sufficient absorbent material to absorb the entire liquid contents inside the primary receptacle. The outer plastic bag is then heat-sealed;
(3) The completed bag is placed in a strong outer packaging with sufficient cushioning material that conforms to subpart B of part 173;
(4) The aggregate net quantity of flammable liquid in one outer packaging may not exceed 1 L; and
(5) The outer package must be legibly marked ‘‘Scientific research specimens, 49 CFR 173.4b applies.’’”
*Specifications for inner packaging receptacles:
“(1) Each inner receptacle must be constructed of plastic, or of glass, porcelain, stoneware, earthenware or metal. Plastic inner packagings must have a thickness of not less than 0.2 mm (0.008 inch).
(2) Each inner packaging with a removable closure must have its closure held securely in place with wire, tape or other positive means. Each inner receptacle having a neck with molded screw threads must have a leak proof, threaded type cap. The closure must not react chemically with the material.”
Finally, a flammable liquid hazard label measuring at least 4x4” must be affixed to each side of the outer package. The name and UN ID number of the material being transported must also appear on the package. Common preserving agents are:
Formaldehyde solution (UN1198)