Shipping Clinical Specimens

Shipping Clinical Specimens

Clinical specimens are human or animal material, including but not limited to excreta, secreta, blood and its components, tissue and tissue fluid. All must be known to not contain, or suspect to contain, a Category A pathogen, which requires special packaging before transport. See Shipping Infectious for more information.

Specimens sent by ground, air, rail and water transportation are subject to the regulations of the Department of Transportation. Specimens going by air transportation are also subject to the regulations of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Packaging requirements for PeaceHealth Laboratories Couriers (or any private or contract courier in dedicated motor vehicle)

  • A leak-proof primary receptacle(s), which is the specimen container.
  • A watertight secondary packaging.
  • An absorbent material—which must be placed between the primary receptacle and the secondary packaging.

Dry Ice

If dry ice is used as a refrigerant, it must be placed outside the secondary container(s). If dry ice is used between the secondary container and the outer shipping container, the shock-absorbent material shall be placed so that the secondary container does not become loose inside the outer shipping container as the dry ice sublimates. Proper labeling is required when dry ice is used.

Commercial Carriers

If you ship directly to PeaceHealth Laboratories via a commercial carrier there are additional requirements. Follow U.S. Department of Transportation 49 CFR Parts 171 through 179. If specimens are mailed, follow U.S. Postal Service: 39 CFR Part 111 and Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) CO23 Hazardous Materials. Exemptions apply for some items, such as fecal occult cards. Follow IATA packing instruction #650 for clinical specimens being transported by air in addition to the above rules. Carriers will not accept or ship improperly packaged or labeled materials.

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