Shipping Research (Hazardous Materials)

All materials regulated in transportation must be shipped by an individual trained and certified by UC Berkeley EH&S Specialist to meet the requirements of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Hazardous Materials Requirements and the International Civil Aviation Technical Instructions on identifying, marking, labeling, documenting and offering the material to a registered transport carrier. Oftentimes materials that can be handled safely in a laboratory are deemed regulated materials in transportation.

An EH&S Hazardous Materials Shipping Specialist will follow up with your submitted request within 72 hours.

All requests must be completed with a valid chart string.

For the safety of your shipment and research, it is highly recommended that the shipments are coordinated on Monday–Wednesday with EH&S to allow proper delivery of materials prior to the weekend.

Shipping Resources

Packaging Materials

Packaging materials can be found in most shipping and receiving areas or mail and stock rooms. You can also contact EH&S for advice on specific packaging material needs.

The outer packaging must meet the specifications for the packaged material. Boxes should be intact and free from cuts, tears, and rips. If you are reusing a box, all previous shipment labels, markings, inspection, and tracking information must be removed.  The cleaner a box looks, the less likely it will be rejected for non-compliance.

Shipment contents must be secured and placed in containers that will not rattle, break, or leak under normal shipping conditions. This may require using secondary containment, absorbent, and/or padding materials.

Polystyrene (Styrofoam) coolers are not acceptable to ship as the outer packaging because they do not meet regulatory specifications. Coolers must be packaged inside a box or a more rigid container for marking and shipping purposes.

Shipping Sites on Campus

Barker Hall

Basement Loading/shipping area

FedEx Pickup time: 1:30 pm


Weill Hall

1st Floor, South Side Loading/shipping area

FedEx Pickup time: 2:30 pm


Stanley Hall

1st Floor, North Side Loading/shipping area

FedEx Pickup time: 2:30 pm


Hildebrand Hall

B24, Basement, South Side Loading/shipping area

FedEx Pickup Time: 2:30 pm


Shipping with Dry Ice

For Initial Requests

Researchers and staff who need to perform frequent shipping (at least quarterly) can receive training on how to ship non-hazardous materials with dry ice. You can complete training by logging into the UC Learning Center and following these steps:

  1. Complete two courses:
  2. After completion, send EH&S the following:
    • Your Employee ID
    • UC address (room, building, mail code, and PI/Lab name)
    • Include the number of shipments you expect to do on an annual basis.
  3. EH&S will assign a certification number and shipment stickers that will be used to certify each package. EH&S provides both the shipment stickers and necessary dry ice labels. These can be sent by campus mail. Contact if you need additional guidance.

EH&S Certification Stickers for Dry Ice Shipments

All hazardous materials (including dry ice) packages require an EH&S certification sticker. 

EH&S certification stickers must include:

  • Your Name
  • Phone Number
  • Certification Number

Hazardous material or research shipments will not be collected by FedEx without an EH&S certification sticker on the package.

Shipping Internationally with Dry Ice

  1. Create a commodity shipment within FedEx (see FedEx’s definition of a commodity for more info). We recommend looking for an Harmonized Tariff Schedules (HTS) code to use for your material.
  2. Add a commercial invoice document if FedEx doesn't produce a separate document than the tracking information. See example invoice. Any similar letter with enough content description, intended use and a statement that it is “For Research Purposes Only,” will help.
  3. Use clean, sturdy packaging. Use blank labels instead of marker to cover up old marks or use a new box.
  4. Ensure recipient has contacted their local customs or gained proper permits, paperwork, etc. to ensure no customs delay on their side.

Please reach out to if you have any questions.

Shipping Biological or Medical Materials/Equipment

Biological substances or medical materials shipping is regulated by domestic and international agencies. In order to comply with all applicable regulations, all biological material shipments from campus must be reviewed, authorized, and managed by EH&S.

Regulated materials include, but are not limited to:

Contact the Biosafety program for biological materials inquiries or call (510) 643-1397.

Permit Requirement for Biological Materials

Shipper and Recipient Authorization to Use Infectious Agents

Export/Import Permits and Controls

United State Department of Agriculture (USDA APHIS)

US Fish and Wildlife Service

Center for Disease Control

Material Transfer Agreement (MTA)

Intellectual Property & Industry Research Alliances (IPIRA MTA)

Shipping Radiological Materials and/or Radiation Producing Machines

Radioactive materials, radiation producing machines, X-ray medical & diagnostic equipment, and lasers shipping is regulated by the UC Berkeley Radiation Safety Officer.

Shipping Radioactive Materials

No one on campus is authorized to ship Radioactive Materials except the EH&S Shipment Coordinator and should be contacted for all shipping inquiries.

Email and ensure that the receiving facility provides:

  • Current valid radioactive materials license or permit
  • Shipping address and contact information, including phone number

Shipping Radiation Producing Machines

Some high voltage equipment may produce radiation and require Radiation Safety approval and registration.

  • Email provide the shipping address and contact information, including phone number, of the receiving facility.

Shipping Batteries and Equipment

EH&S needs to review the following type of equipment or materials prior to shipping:

  • Equipment that stores, generates, or produces energy (lasers, electricity, steam, radiography, magnetism).
  • Lithium Metal and Lithium-Ion batteries and cells.
  • Magnetic objects in certain quantities.
  • Non-infectious, used medical, diagnostic, and healthcare products.

Batteries and battery containing equipment MUST BE SHIPPED IN COORDINATION WITH EH&S.

For each shipment the following information must be provided to EH&S:

Battery Types The term “lithium battery” refers to a family of batteries with different chemistries, comprising of many types of cathodes and electrolytes.

EH&S must know if your materials qualify as ‘cells’ or ‘batteries’

  • Cells: means a single encased electrochemical unit (one positive and one negative electrode) that exhibits a voltage differential across its two terminals.
  • Batteries: means two or more cells that are electrically connected together and fitted with devices necessary for use, for example, case, terminals, marking, and protective devices. Units which have two or more cells that are commonly referred to as "battery packs", "modules" or "battery assemblies" having the primary function of providing a source of power to another piece of equipment.
Metal Types

Lithium Metal: Generally primary (non-rechargeable) batteries that have lithium metal or lithium compounds as an anode. Also included within lithium metal are lithium alloy batteries. Lithium metal batteries are generally used to power devices such as watches, calculators, cameras, temperature data loggers, car key fobs, and defibrillators.

Lithium-Ion (sometimes abbreviated Li-ion batteries): A secondary (rechargeable) battery where the lithium is only present in an ionic form in the electrolyte. Also included within the category of lithium-ion batteries are lithium polymer batteries. Lithium-ion batteries are generally used to power devices such as mobile telephones, laptop computers, tablets, power tools, and e-bikes.

Non-Rechargeable or Rechargeable

The potential to recharge batteries versus non-rechargeable batteries separates them into different classes for shipping and must be determined.

Lithium Content

The amount of lithium contained in each battery must also be determined prior to shipping.

Watt-Hour Rate

The watt-hour rating (Wh) of the battery must be known and indicated on the outside of the battery. If you know the battery’s nominal voltage (V) and capacity in ampere-hours, you can also determine the watt-hours: Ah x V = Wh


The battery manufacturer's name must also be indicated on the outside of the battery.

Complete the EH&S Shipping Research Form or email if you have any questions.

Shipping to Field Stations

Field station researchers who must transport materials between sites, personnel, and/or the University, must coordinate with EH&S in advance to ensure your material is not regulated as a hazardous material or dangerous good.  

Regulated materials that often need to be transported to and from field sites typically include:

  • Liquid nitrogen, oxygen tanks, compressed cylinders, etc.
  • Live animals or animal specimens and some insects,
  • Alcohol and solvent preservatives,
  • Lithium metal and ion batteries,
  • Equipment that produces electricity, power, or has an energy source,
  • Camping stove gas, fuels, and flammables of any kind.

For hazardous materials and dangerous goods shipping assistance and/or questions, contact:

For general information on field stations, questions, and support, contact:

Safety Data Sheet Shipping Requirements

Safety data sheets are the best source of information regarding the hazards, emergency response, and protective measures for any hazardous material.

When submitting a request for shipment of most chemicals, you are required to include a safety data sheet (SDS). If the chemical has been synthesized, created, or is a novel mixture created here on campus, fill out the OSHA Form 174 and return to EH&S with your shipment request. Otherwise, use our SDS resources below to find an SDS that appropriately identifies the chemical and its hazards.

Outgoing biological shipments do not always require an SDS, but they may require import permits authorized by the receiving country. Coordinate with the recipient of your package to ensure that they have obtained the proper permits.

Manufacturers are always the most reliable sources for SDSs, and the UC system has provided its researchers with UC SDS Resources, a systemwide website created to help locate SDSs and other chemical safety information. In addition, UC SDS Resources allows users to utilize a customized Google search designed to quickly locate an SDS. This resource functions like any regular search engine.

Please contact with any questions regarding SDSs.


Chemical Information Sites

Pesticides and Toxicology Sites

Biological Hazards Pathogen Safety Data Sheets (PSDS) Sites

Other Chemical Hazards Sites

Toxic Substances Control Act Certification

Researchers importing chemicals, typically from other research institutions or suppliers outside the US, are often asked by the shipping company to complete a Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) certification form to have materials released by US Customs. The TSCA document is prepared by the importer and ensures the proper handling of the materials.

The importer’s statement must certify whether the chemical shipment is:

  • subject to TSCA and complies with all applicable rules and orders (positive certification)


  • not subject to TSCA (negative certification)

To read more about TSCA certification requirements, visit the EPA website

Note: TSCA-certified materials can rarely be transferred outside UC Berkeley.  

Who should sign? 

The researcher must sign the TSCA document. The document can only be signed by those who control the use and location of materials. The responsibility for certifying the TSCA statement lies with the campus lab importing the chemical.

Any questions about the form can be directed to


TSCA Inventory of Chemical Substances

Harmonized Tariff Schedules Codes

Harmonized Tariff Schedules (HTS) codes are used by importers and exporters to better understand commodities and their associated taxes. HTS codes can also expedite international customs approval by allowing the receiving country to identify the shipment against a known commodity list.

If HTS codes accurately match research materials being sent, list them within your shipping documents or commercial invoice. Some materials do not have an accurate HTS code and will not be included with those shipments.

HTS codes for some materials can be found on the US International Trade Commission website.