Q.   What are hazardous materials?

A. Hazardous materials are substances or materials that the Secretary of Transportation has determined to be capable of posing an unreasonable risk to health, safety, and property when transported in commerce.


Q.   Is training required to ship cryogenically prepared cells?

A. Yes. Federal and international laws require that anyone who transports, offers advice for transport, or prepares hazardous materials for transport must be trained. Shipping or transporting even a small quantity of hazardous materials regulated by the Department of Transportation (DOT) or the International Civil Aviation Organization as published in the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Hazardous materials include infectious substances, dry ice and certain biological substances.


Q.  Are all transport companies companies equal in the transportation of hazardous materials?

A. No. Not all transport companies including airlines are registered to transport hazardous materials. Offering hazardous materials to such a carrier is illegal whether or not the carrier or Transport Company accepts the shipment. Additionally, some carriers and transport companies while registered to transport hazardous materials may do so more restrictively. (i.e., FedEx Ground requires a separate contract to accept hazardous materials for carriage).


Q.     Are there regulations for shipping with dry ice as a coolant?

A. Yes. Dry ice is considered a hazardous material. Shipping with dry ice is regulated for air and over water shipments. Identification, classification, packaging, marking, labeling and other regulatory requirements including training and certification must be met prior to using dry ice in a shipment.


Q.     Can I ship dry ice in just a styrofoam container?

No. Styrofoam containers are not acceptable to meet external packaging requirements of a hazardous materials shipment. The GRCF Biorepository & Cell Center offers hazardous material shipment compliant styrofoam containers enclosed in cardboard boxes for sale.

Q.   I don’t have time to ship hazardous materials. Can I just self transport it as checked or hand carry luggage?

No. Federal regulations prohibit transporting hazardous goods by hand onto a flight.


Q.   Do I need to do anything special for shipping materials from Johns Hopkins to an outside institution?

A. Shipments from Johns Hopkins University require the recipient to acquire a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) through JHU’s Tech Transfer office.


Q.    What courier does the GRCF Biorepository & Cell Center use?

A. We predominately use FedEx for our shipments both within the USA and internationally.


Q.    How much dry ice is required to ensure cryogenic preservation of my specimens when shipped to various locations?

A.  We typically use 6lbs of dry ice in in domestic shipments, 20lbs of dry ice for shipments to Europe and 60lbs of dry ice for shipments to Asia or Australia.


Q.    How can I arrange to have the GRCF Biorepository & Cell Center make shipments for me?

A. We offer bioshipping to any of our biorepository or bioprocessing customers. Just email us at bioshipping@jhmi.edu with any questions you may have or to arrange for a shipment.