Home Products Most Popular Contact
No items in your cart.
The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Packaging and Shipping Infectious Materials (retired July 2013). Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

Learn more about Packaging and Shipping Infectious Materials (retired July 2013) (online CE course) »
How to Subscribe
Individual course$45 Add to cart

IATA and US Postal Service Exempt Specimens

Laboratory specimens that are unlikely to cause disease and do not meet the criteria for category A or B substances are not subject to Division 6.2 regulations. Specimens for which the hazardous materials regulation (HMR) does not apply include human or animal samples (including, but not limited to, secreta, excreta, blood and its components, tissue and tissue fluids, and body parts) being transported for routine testing not related to the diagnosis of an infectious disease. This includes specimens that are being sent for:

  • drug or alcohol testing
  • cholesterol testing
  • blood glucose level testing
  • prostate specific antibody (PSA) testing
  • testing to monitor kidney or liver function
  • pregnancy testing
  • tests for diagnosis of non-infectious diseases such as cancer biopsies

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has no "Exempt Specimen" classification and there are no DOT guidelines for packaging non-regulated specimens.* According to the DOT, in the U.S., if a package is marked as "Exempt Human/Animal Specimen" the understanding is that it contains no infectious substance.

However, both IATA and the US Postal Service (USPS) have these requirements for packaging exempt specimens:

Packaging Issue



Type of packaging requiredTriple packagingTriple packaging
Outer container
  • One dimension must be a minimum of 100 mm X 100 mm (approximately 4 x 4 inches)
  • Must be able to survive a drop test of 4 feet
  • One dimension must be a minimum of 100 mm X 100 mm (approximately 4 x 4 inches)
  • Must be able to survive a drop test of 4 feet

Quantity limits: outer container

None None
Quantity limits: Primary receptacleNone500 mL
Quantity limits: secondary packaging


500 mL

* Non-regulated specimens may become regulated because of preservatives, such as 10% formaldehyde (class 9) or 25% formaldehyde (class 8); or 25% ethanol (class 3).