IATA Clarifies Shipping Infectious Substances & COVID-19 Related Hazmat

Posted on 4/6/2020 by Lauren Scott

Last month, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) released information to help hazmat shippers transport infectious substances and hand sanitizer safely and in compliance via air. This new guidance aims to assist supply-chain professionals, aircraft workers, and frequent flyers alike in supporting the fight against COVID-19.

Transporting Infectious Disease Samples

To ensure a continuous, rapid response to suspected cases of COVID-19, it is crucial to ensure that viral samples will ship to laboratories for analysis without delay. The World Health Organization (WHO) says the transport of COVID-19 specimens has been operating smoothly thus far.

However, confusion over how to classify these samples has created a few delays. IATA has said COVID-19 specimens should be classified as UN 3373, Biological substance, Category B and packed in accordance with PI 650. This classification was established after reviewing recommendations from WHO and the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Hand Sanitizer as Aircraft Equipment

WHO recommends the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer as well as washing hands with soap and water to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In order to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their crew, many airlines seek to install hand sanitizer in aircraft lavatories or allow it to be carried in the galley.

However, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are classified as dangerous goods and are not specifically permitted by the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR) and ICAO Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air (Technical Instructions) under the provisions for dangerous goods in operator's property. [DGR 2.5, ICAO Technical Instructions Part 1;2.2]

Airlines that wish to allow hand sanitizer in galleys or installed in lavatories must request authorization from their civil aviation authority (State of the Operator) in adherence to the provision that is set out in Part 1;2.2.1 a) of the ICAO Technical Instructions.

Hand Sanitizer in Passenger and Crew Baggage

The IATA DGR establishes allowances for many medicinal and toiletry items (including alcohol-based hand sanitizer) that passengers and crew can have in their checked or carry-on baggage:

The term "medicinal or toiletry articles" is intended to include such items as hair sprays, perfumes, colognes, and medicines containing alcohols. Aerosols in Division 2.2, with no subsidiary hazard, for sporting or home use [DGR Paragraph].

Alcohol-based hand sanitizer is permitted under these provisions. However, passengers and crew are limited to 100 mL in carry-on luggage. Hand sanitizer is also allowed in checked bags in quantities up to 0.5 L per bottle, not to exceed 2 L total.

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Tags: coronavirus, COVID-19., dangerous goods, hand sanitizer, hazmat air shipper, IATA, infectious substances, virus, WHO, world health organization

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