Regulations & Definitions

Class 6.2  Infectious Substances

Infectious substances are those which are known or can be reasonably expected to contain pathogens. Dangerous goods regulations define pathogens as microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, rickettsiae, parasites and fungi, or other agents which can cause disease in humans or animals.

Category A See Table 1

Infectious Substance affecting humans UN2814

Infectious Substance affecting animals UN2900

An Infectious Substance in a form capable of causing permanent disability or life threatening or fatal disease in otherwise healthy humans or animals when exposure to it occurs.  Poses a higher degree of risk than Category B

Category B

Biological Substance, Category B UN3373 

Defined as an Infectious substance that does not meet criteria for Category A

(e.g. Materials still infectious or pathogenic, but not as serious as the Category A definition)

  • Includes Diagnostic Specimens, Clinical Specimens

Class 9 Miscellaneous Hazards 

Genetically Modified Organisms & Microorganisms (GMO)

Biological material where the genetic material has been modified in a manner which does not occur naturally.  If also infectious to humans or animals, then material must be classified as Class 6.2 Infectious Substances group (GMO does not matter if the material is an infectious substance)

  • Includes plasmids, viral vectors, host organism with artificially inserted genetic material, etc.
  • Does not apply if shipment stays in the U.S.A.

Dry Ice

Solid state carbon dioxide shipped alone or used as a preservative freezing agent with a biological shipment

  • Low level hazard
  • Packing and labeling is secondary to higher hazard materials in the package (e.g. Infectious Substance)

Exempt Substances—Non Hazardous Materials

  • Biological materials which are not known or suspected to be:
  • Infectious to humans or animals
  • Genetically Modified (if shipment is outside the US)
  • May be shipped with Dry Ice as long as dry ice is properly declared and noted on paperwork and package as appropriate in the regulations ( see Dry Ice section of this booklet)

Exempt Human Substance                          

Exempt Animal Substance

Biological Product   (used only for therapeutic biologicals such as vaccines, transplant
organs, transfusion blood products, fecal occult cards, blood spot cards)