Transport of Biological Materials
On Campus Transport of Biohazardous Materials
Safe transportation of biohazardous materials is required to protect laboratorians, building occupants, and the public from exposures. This includes the transportation within and between campus buildings. The person transporting the material is responsible for ensuring that it is properly packaged and transported safely. General guidelines for safe transportation are:
- Research/clinical specimens should be transported in a sealed, leak-proof primary container within a sealed, leak-proof secondary container (e.g. Tupperware container).
- A sufficient amount of absorbent material to contain a potential spill should be placed in the internal container with the specimen.
- The secondary container should be labeled with a universal biohazard symbol sticker or carcinogen sticker as appropriate.
- The outside of the secondary container should be disinfected (for biohazards) or cleaned (for chemical hazards) so that the use of personal protective equipment is not required.
- Public areas and elevators should be avoided if at all possible. If public areas/elevators must be used, gloves must not be worn.
- Even though a spill is unlikely when this protocol is followed, the person transporting the material should be prepared to: 1) isolate the area of the spill; 2) clean up the spill if possible, or contact University Police by calling 631-632-3333 from a cell phone or 2-333 from a laboratory phone to report the spill and obtain assistance in the clean-up.
Safe transportation of research animals treated with infectious agents is also required. Transportation of animals treated with infectious agents must meet all DLAR transportation requirements AND require:
- The use of filter-top cages.
- Cage covers must be securely fastened with tape, rubber bands, or other manner to ensure that the cage cover will not open if the cage is dropped or disturbed in transit.
- Cage or transport containers are disinfected (for biohazards) or cleaned (for chemical hazards) so that the use of personal protective equipment is not required to handle them.
Off Campus / Courier Transport
Transportation of biological materials, etiologic agents and vectors of human disease is an activity that affects all research and diagnostic service entities. In many instances, these materials may be regulated for transportation and will require specific packaging, labeling, and documentation. Additionally, the shipper must have documented training relative to his or her tasks associated with the shipment. Training is provided by EH&S through the Shipping of Hazardous Goods course (EH&S EOS 016). Training is required prior to offering materials for shipment and is good for 2 years from the training completion date.
Preparing to Ship Biological Materials
Before you package and ship materials to an off-campus destination please be aware that domestic transport, import and export of infectious substances may require a permit or license from federal agencies prior to shipment. Researchers are responsible for submitting any applications and obtaining permits for following all packaging requirements. The summary below is intended to help researchers determine whether the material being transported requires a permit or license. Most permits are issued to the individual, not the institution.
- Microorganisms that cause disease in humans (etiologic agents) require permits from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for import into the US from a foreign country. Etiologic agents are defined as: 1) any microorganisms or biological toxin that causes disease in humans; 2) biological substances such as blood and tissues, when known or suspected to contain an infectious agent; 3) live insects, such as mosquitoes, known or suspected to contain any disease transmissible to human; and 4) any animal known or suspected of being infected with any disease transmissible to humans. application should be made at least 10 days in advance of the anticipated shipment date. Further information and application forms may be obtained at https://www.cdc.gov/cpr/ipp/index.htm
- Microorganisms that cause disease in livestock require import permits from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) for import into the US. Permits are also required for import of biological reagents containing animal material (this includes tissue culture media containing growth stimulants of bovine origin such as calf serum). Further information and application forms may be obtained at https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/resources/permits/aphis-permits
- Microorganisms that cause disease in livestock require transfer permits for domestic transport within the US. Transfer permits are also required for biological reagents containing animal material (this includes tissue culture media containing growth stimulants of bovine origin such as calf serum). Further information and application forms may be obtained at https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/resources/permits/aphis-permits
- Guidance for export of infectious agents is handled by the SBU Office of Research Compliance. Please refer to the Export Controls page at https://www.stonybrook.edu/commcms/export-controls/index.php
- Permits are required from the USDA/APHIS for interstate movement, importation, or release into the environment (i.e. field tests) of genetically engineered organisms that are plant pests, or that contain portions (plasmids, DNA fragments, etc.) of plant pest. Applications should be made at least 120 days in advance of the anticipated release or shipment date. Information and applications may be obtained at https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/resources/permits/aphis-permits
- Select Agents and Toxins Prior approval is required by the CDC and USDA/APHIS for transfer of select agents and toxins. Please contact the SBU biosafety officer if your work includes select agents.