Shipping Dry Ice: What You Should Know

Posted on 4/2/2018 by Roger Marks

Besides being fun to play with in high school chemistry class, dry ice often serves a more practical function: keeping products cool during transportation.
Whether its food, biological specimens, or other medical samples, dry ice plays a key role in temperature regulation. It’s important to realize, though, that dry ice is also a dangerous good when shipped by air.
Do you ship products in dry ice? The Shipping Dry Ice Online Course or the Shipping Infectious Substances (w/ Dry Ice) Online Course will guide you through what you must know to ship dry ice safely and in compliance. Be confident your shipments will be accepted and avoid rejection, lost product, and costly fines.
According to the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR), dry ice is a Class 9 “miscellaneous” hazardous material/dangerous good, because it doesn’t meet any of the traditional Hazard Class 1 - 8 definitions. Instead, it is regulated because it sublimates, meaning it turns directly from solid to gas.

Venting Packages to Avoid Pressure Buildup 

Why is this important? First, sublimation can lead to dangerous pressure buildup within a package, causing a package to explode—a serious problem on an aircraft, since passengers and crew may be injured and the aircraft itself could become damaged.
To mitigate this transport risk, packages containing dry ice must be designed to allow proper venting to avoid pressure buildup.

Dry Ice and Oxygen Displacement

Another reason dry ice is regulated as hazmat by air is that gaseous carbon dioxide (the result of the sublimation process) displaces oxygen. This means that if carbon dioxide and oxygen are fighting for the same space, carbon dioxide will win.
Oxygen displacement is especially relevant in the cabin of an aircraft—a self-contained environment equipped with a limited oxygen supply. If dry ice isn’t packaged properly, or in quantities that are too large, the carbon dioxide gas it produces could asphyxiate the passengers and crew.

Appropriate Hazmat Training Can Save Lives

For these reasons, shippers who offer packages containing dry ice, especially for air transport, must have appropriate training to ensure all safety concerns have been met and that the proper packing instructions are followed.
Hazmat training for dry ice shippers is required whether or not your packages contain other regulated materials, such as Division 6.2 infectious substances.
Even if you ship a cooler of barbecue cuts, frozen treats, or other foodstuffs or non-hazardous products packed in dry ice, you still need appropriate hazmat training.
By training employees to properly package, mark, and label shipments containing dry ice, shippers protect supply-chain personnel, airline passengers and crew, and the public from the unique risks this very cool—but very dangerous—substance poses.

Complete Dangerous Goods Shipper Training
(49 CFR, IATA DGR, and IMDG Code)

Meet DOT and IATA training mandates in cities nationwide in 2018. Be confident your shipments are in full compliance with the latest 49 CFR and DGR requirements for ground or air transport, earn CM Points and CEUs, and leave with trusted resources to simplify compliance and support your decisions.

Need DOT (49 CFR) hazmat training for highway shipments? Check out the Hazmat Ground Shipper workshop or online course here. 
Renew your DOT hazmat training here with the recurrent online course or live, one-day refresher webinar on May 3.

Tags: dry, hazmat shipping, IATA DGR, ice, infectious substances, shipping dry ice

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