Guidance on the Transfer of Select Agents and Toxins

Appendix I: Shipping Regulations

Some of the specific measures required to ensure that infectious substances are shipped safely include:

Department of Transportation Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 CFR Parts 171-180)
The Department of Transportation's (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has specific requirements for transporting infectious substances safely by motor vehicle, railcar, vessel, and aircraft. These requirements must be followed by domestic and international shippers and carriers. They also contain provisions on how to apply international regulations for hazardous materials. PHMSA's requirements for infectious substances are outlined below and explained in detail in the Department of Transportation (DOT) publication, "Transporting Infectious Substances Safely." Also see the PHMSA Transporting Infectious Substances Q&A and DOT Guidance for Transporting Ebola Contaminated Items for more information.

Domestic Regulations

Department of Transportation. 49 CFR Part 171-180, Hazardous Materials Regulations Applies to the shipment of infectious substances in commercial transportation to, from, or within the United States. These regulations also authorize, with certain conditions and limitations, the commercial transportation of hazardous materials in accordance with the International Civil Aviation Organization's Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air (ICAO Technical Instructions), the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code), Transport Canada's Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (Transport Canada TDG Regulations), and the International Atomic Energy Agency Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material (IAEA Regulations). See 49 CFR 171.12(a) and 49 CFR Part 171, Subpart C. Information on these regulations may be obtained by calling (800) 467-4922 (Toll free) or (202) 366-4488 from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Eastern time, or at the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration website.

United States Postal Service (USPS). 39 CFR Part 20, International Postal Service (International Mail Manual), and Part 111, General Information on Postal Service (Domestic Mail Manual). Regulations on transporting infectious substances through the USPS are codified in Section 601.10.17 of the Domestic Mail Manual and Section 135 of the International Mail Manual. A copy of the Domestic and International Mail Manuals may be obtained from the Government Printing Office by calling Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. EST: (202) 512-1800 or (866) 512-1800 (Toll free). For more information, see the Domestic Mail Manual and the International Mail Manual.

Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). 29 CFR Part 1910.1030, Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens. These regulations provide minimal packaging and labeling requirements for blood and body fluids when transported within a laboratory or outside of it. Information may be obtained from your local OSHA office.

International Regulations

Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air (Technical Instructions). International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Applies to the shipment of infectious substances by aircraft and is recognized in the United States and by most countries worldwide. The HMR recognize and authorize the Technical Instructions as an alternative to complying with the HMR for packaging, marking, labeling, classifying, and describing hazardous materials transported by aircraft and by motor vehicle either before or after being transported by aircraft. See 49 CFR Part 171, Subpart C. A copy of these regulations may be obtained from the ICAO Document Sales Unit at (514) 954-8022, Fax: (514) 954-6769, email:

Dangerous Goods Regulations. International Air Transport Association (IATA). These instructions are issued by an airline association, based on the ICAO Technical Instructions, and followed by most airline carriers. However they do not have official standing under the HMR. A copy of these regulations is available at IATA, the World Health Organization (WHO), or by contacting the IATA Customer Care office at: Tel: (514) 390-6726 or (800) 716-6326 (Toll free), Fax: (514) 874-9659, or email:

The International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code. International Maritime Organization (IMO). This code is of mandatory application for all 155 contracting parties to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). Information on this code is available at the IMO IMGD Code.

The Letter Post Manual Universal Postal Union (UPU). This manual reflects the United Nations Recommendations using the ICAO provisions as the basis for shipments.

Other Resources

Please refer to the following guidance for additional information: