Requirements for the Packaging and Transport of Pathology Specimens and Associated Materials 3rd Edition

Appendix C - Transporting Biological Substances, Category B, by air (UN 3373) (Normative)

Page last updated: 22 October 2012

Samples of these substances for air transport must be packed by an employee trained to package this category of dangerous goods. Training is obtained by successfully completing an accredited course.

Substances that have been classified as Biological Substances, Category B, must be packed to IATA Packing Instruction 650.

Packaging

All samples must be triple packed (see Figure A4.2) in packaging approved to transport Biological Substances, Category B (i.e. outer packaging must display test certificate number).

The maximum net quantity per package of Biological Substance, Category B, is shown in Table 3.2.

Liquid substances

The primary receptacle(s) for liquid substances must be leakproof and must not contain more than 1 L. The total package must not contain more than 4 L.

To pack liquid substances:
  1. the primary receptacle(s) must be placed into leakproof secondary packaging with sufficient absorbent cushioning material to absorb the entire contents
  2. an itemised list of contents must be placed between the secondary and outer packagings
  3. the secondary packaging must be placed into the outer packaging.

Solid substances

For solid substances, the primary receptacle(s), must be siftproof. Except for packages containing body parts, organs or whole bodies, the total package must not contain more than 4 kg.

To pack solid substances:
  1. the primary receptacle(s) must be placed into siftproof secondary packaging with cushioning material
  2. an itemised list of contents must be placed between the secondary and outer packagings
  3. the secondary packaging must be placed into the outer packaging.

See Table A6.1 for examples of suitable containers and packaging materials for Biological Substances, Category B.

Table A6.1 Examples of containers and packaging for Biological Substances, Category B
DescriptionExamples
Absorbent materialVernagel (not for formalin), cotton wool
Combine dressing (for formalin)
Cushioning materialCotton wool, shredded newspaper
Outer packagingFibreboard box that displays certificate to transport Biological Substances, Category B
Primary receptacleBlood tube
Urine container
Histology specimen container
Secondary packagingPolycarbonate bottle with screw lid
Biohazard bag, 95 kPa tested

Note: when transporting Biological Substances, Category B, the primary receptacle or secondary packaging must be capable of withstanding, without leakage, an internal pressure of 95 kPa in the range of -40C to +55C ( 40F to 130F).


Marking and labelling

Outer packaging must be marked and labelled with:
  • name address of sender
  • name and address of receiver
  • emergency contact details (name and 24-hour phone number) on outer packaging OR on waybill/consignment note
  • proper shipping name (Biological Substances, Category B)
  • UN 3373 mark (see Figure 3.1)
  • orientation labels if package contains 50 mL or more of liquid (see Figure 3.1).

Documentation

A shipper’s declaration is not required. However, a consignment note or airway bill is required.

For packages containing 50 mL or more of liquid substances, two orientation labels must be used — one label must be affixed to each of two opposite sides of the package with the arrows pointing in the upright position.