Re: reply-transport of tissues -Reply

<< Previous Message | Next Message >>
From:Linda E Durbin <>
To:Colin Henderson <>,
Date:Fri, 26 Mar 1999 10:09:07 -0600
Content-Type:text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"


On page 155 there are two categories for formaldehyde solutions.  One if for
formaldehyde solutions, flammable (subrisk corrosive)and the other is the
"Not less than 25%" formaldehyde solution which is corrosive.  I agree that
10% NBF does not fall into the second category. However, depending on the
flash point of the 10% formalin that you purchase, the formalin that you use
may fall into the first category of Flammable liquid.  THis is especially
true for formalin that has a methanol content.  It is doubtful that even
those formalin formulas that meet the flammability criteria would meet the
criteria for corrosive.  In which case the subrisk should not be declared.

You can't just look at Section 4 Identification.  You also have to look at
Section 3 Classification.  The classification pages give you the critieria
for what constitutes a flammable and what constitutes a corrosive.  If there
is methanol in your formalin you should check the MSDS sheet or with the
manufacturer to get the results of any flammability tests they have done.
The criteria is on page 59 of the IATA guide (they required a closed-cup
test).  The protocol for testing for combustibility of flammables is found
on page 60.

Not all formalins fall into the flammable category -- some do.  Those that
do are regulated, those that don't aren't.  However, for purposes of
transport in the United States only, the US DOT has declared that 10%
Neutral Buffered Formalin is a Class 9 (Miscellaneous) Hazard and is subject
to regulation when transported by air.

What you, the shipper, always have to remember is that the burden is on you
to know whether or not the substance that you're shipping falls into a
regulated category.  The idenfication pages list many substances but not all
of the substances that are regulated.  For those substances not specifically
listed, you have know their properties and whether or not they fall into the
"not otherwise specificed (n.o.s) or generic categories outlined on Page 86.
10% Neutral Buffered Formalin is one such substance in the US.

Confused?  Join the club.  The regs are complex and you have to read them in
total, not just specific sections.  Just remember, just because your
substance is not spelled out in the blue pages of the IATA book doesn't mean
that it's not a regulated substance.

I hope this helps.

-----Original Message-----
From: Colin Henderson <>
To: <>;
<>; <>
Date: Friday, March 26, 1999 9:31 AM
Subject: Re: reply-transport of tissues -Reply

>Linda and Histonet:
>My copy of the IATA Regs. on page 155 has
>Formaldehyde solutions, flammable listed as:
>Class 3
>Sub Risk 8
>and Formaldehyde solution "with not less than 25%
>formaldehyde" listed as ....... Class 8 (corrosive).
>My question and concern is that the interpretation of
>"with not less than 25%" means more than 25%;
>otherwise what does it mean when you take the NOT
>out, ie "with less than 25%".
>So as I read the Legislation 10% (4%) is NOT
>What do you say?
>Colin in London, Ontario, Canada
>Class 8
>>>> Linda E Durbin <> Friday,
>March 26, 1999 >>>
>I'm glad to see you don't ship in formalin.  Most labs
>don't know that
>formalin, when shipped by air, is considered a
>dangerous good and must be
>shipped in accordance with U.S. Dept. of
>Transportation regulations.  Even
>though it does not meet the flammable or corrosive
>criteria of other
>formaldehyde solutions, the DOT considers it to be an
>environmental hazard
>and must be shipped as a Class 9 hazard when going
>by air.
>The transport regulations for tissue and other human
>samples (blood, urine
>etc.) are changing and the packaging requirements are
>changing with them.
>You can bone up on some of the coming changes at
>the DOT's website at
>In addition, the freight carriers are beginning to
>impose their own
>restrictions on how samples are packaged and
>shipped.  FedEx and Airborne
>(soon) will be requiring three part packaging - two
>inner packagings and one
>outer box.  UPS feels that if labs use Universal
>Precautions when they
>handle samples that UPS employees should have the
>same protection.  So UPS
>requires that you use packaging certified for shipping
>an infectious
>substance whenever you send a "diagnostic" sample.
>Also, OSHA is starting
>to crack down on freight companies who do not
>provide protection for their
>employees from "leaking" packages of blood, sera,
>urine and reagents.  So
>the freight companies are imposing stricter
>requirements on labs.
>This is a topic that everyone needs to spend some
>time researching.  The
>international regulations (IATA) are becoming the
>standard for all labs
>regarding the transport of all types of samples.
>Linda E. Durbin
>EXAKT Technologies, Inc.
>7416 N. Broadway Ext., Ste. E
>Oklahoma City, OK  73116
>Phone:  800.866.7172
>Fax:  405.848.7701
>-----Original Message-----
>To: valerie degroff <>;
>Date: Friday, March 26, 1999 8:05 AM
>Subject: reply-transport of tissues
>We often recieve tissue from other institutions (many
>from overseas).  In
>short my SOP calls for the following:
>Tissues NO thicker than 3 mm
>10% NBF fixation 24-48 hours
>Transfer tissues to phosphate buffer pH 7.4 in screw
>top vials
>Put vials in plastic zip lock bags put the bags in a box
>with LOTS of
>Styrofoam peanuts and ship
>Do not send via US mail!  They have had a tendency
>to break things 9 out of
>10 times.   We now use FedEx, they only mess up 1
>out of a 100~!
>-- Begin original message --
>> We need to transport formalin fixed rat prostate
>tissue (via the mail)
>> for processing and embedding in our research lab.
>Can anyone suggest
>> the best methods or solutions to use for the
>transport of these valuable
>> specimens?
>> Thanks!
>> Valerie Degroff
>> Ohio State University
>-- End original message --
>best regards,
>Robert Schoonhoven
>Laboratory of Molecular Carcinogenesis and
>Dept. of Environmental Sciences and Engineering
>University of North Carolina
>Chapel Hill, NC 27599
>office 919-966-6343
>   Lab 919-966-6140
>   Fax 919-966-6123
>**Suppose you were an idiot... And suppose you were
>a member of Congress ...
>But I repeat myself.-Mark Twain**

<< Previous Message | Next Message >>