Shipping Hazardous Materials

The use of hazardous materials is an integral part of research at Purdue University. At times, it is necessary to ship these materials to a colleague, another research facility, back to the manufacturer or to a field research site. Hazardous materials may include items such as:

  • Laboratory chemicals (including research samples)
  • Dry ice
  • Radioactive materials
  • Compressed gases
  • Biological agents
  • Equipment or instruments that contain hazardous materials
  • Lithium batteries and other rechargeable batteries

When hazardous materials are offered for transport by a commercial carrier like FedEx or UPS, the shipment becomes regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (US DOT) and/or international agencies (IATA, ICAO). To comply with shipping regulations, hazardous materials must be properly classified, packaged, documented, and handled by trained employees. Failure to meet these requirements may result in delays, loss of research samples, and potential regulatory fines.

EHS's Hazardous Materials Shipping Program

EHS will provide shipment services, or if necessary, train the appropriate personnel on the proper shipping procedures. EHS does not charge for shipment preparation or training services. However, the researcher is responsible for the cost of proper packaging materials, dry ice (if applicable) and shipping costs.

Dry ice and Infectious, Category B material training is available for regular shippers of these materials. This training certifies personnel to ship without EHS involvement and requires recertification every two years. Contact EHS at 765-494-0121 or with any questions or to receive training.

Shipping Procedures*

The following procedures must be followed to ship hazardous materials:

EHS will contact you regarding pickup instructions after receiving the request. 

For shipments containing dry ice:

  • A box and cooler are required in order to ship
  • Dry ice must be provided by researcher
  • Do not tape the cooler shut

International shipments will require Export Controls review, and additional information may be required. To help the international shipping process remain trouble free, please provide the following:

  • Any acceptance documents (e.g. permits, licenses, customs clearance documents) the destination country may require
  • Contact information for the Principal Investigator
  • A material transfer agreement, if applicable
  • A Pro Forma containing the following information. A template can be found on the shipping and receiving website here (PDF). Include:
    • A telephone number for the person receiving the material
    • A precise description of the material
    • Statement of what the material will be used for
    • An estimated value for the shipment, keeping in mind that duties and taxes will be based on this estimated value

International shipments containing dry ice should only be shipped Monday-Wednesday.

* Please make arrangements well in advance for special requests, unusual materials or large volume shipments. Contact EHS at 765-494-0121 or to schedule shipments or ask questions regarding shipping hazardous materials.

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