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Biological Substances
Infectious/Biological Substances and Medical, Clinical or Regulated Waste

Under IATA 3.6.2


3.6.2.2.2.1  Category A: UPS does not accept materials with this classification.

3.6.2.2.2.2  Category B: Biological substance, Category B refers to infectious substances not meeting the criteria for inclusion in Category A, and must be assigned to UN3373. These materials do not cause life threatening or fatal disease or permanent disability in humans when exposure occurs. UPS will only accept UN3373 on a contractual basis internationally.

Examples may include: Human or animal excreta, secreta, blood tissue, bodily fluids, etc.

Packaging Requirements
The IATA Regulations require that shipments containing Biological substance, Category B materials are triple packaged according to Packing Instruction 650. The triple packaging consists of the following:

  • A leak proof primary receptacle
  • A leak proof secondary packaging
  • An outer rigid packaging of adequate strength for its capacity, mass and intended use


Each completed package must be able capable of passing the IATA drop test described in 6.5.1.1 from a height of not less than 1.2 m. For liquids, absorbent material in sufficient quantity to absorb the entire contents must be placed between the primary receptacle(s) and the secondary packaging.

Marking Requirements
Packages containing UN3373 materials must be clearly marked with the proper shipping name of "Biological substance, Category B" with the characters being at least 6 mm high. Packages must also have the mark illustrated in Packing Instruction 650 clearly and legibly displayed on the external surface of the outer packaging adjacent to the proper shipping name. The UN3373 mark must be in a square on point configuration (diamond shaped) with each side being a minimum of 50 mm (or 2 inches) in length with the UN3373 characters being at least 6 mm in height.

Biological Substance Category B


3.6.2.2.3 Exceptions: Substances which are unlikely to cause disease in humans or animals or do not contain infectious substances are not subject to the Regulations unless they meet criteria for inclusion in another class. See additional exceptions under IATA 3.6.2.2.3.

3.6.2.2.3.6 Exempt Human or Animal Specimens: Patient specimens for which there is minimal likelihood that pathogens are present are not subject to the Regulations if they are packed according to the triple packaging guidelines (PI 650) and are marked with the words "Exempt human specimens" or "Exempt animal specimens". These materials require an International Special Commodities Contract.

3.6.2.5 Medical, Clinical or Regulated Waste: UPS does not accept any shipments of medical, clinical or regulated wastes, regardless of their assignment to UN2814, UN2900, or UN3291.

If you have any questions about shipping Biological substances with UPS, contact your UPS Salesperson or call the Hazardous Materials Support Center at: 1-800-554-9964.


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