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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Interpretation Response #03-0208 ([FAA] [Bill Wilkening])

Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: FAA

Individual Name: Bill Wilkening

Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

Apr 9, 2004


Bill Wilkening Manager, ADG-1                Reference No. 03-0208

Dear Mr. Wilkening:

This is in response to your memorandum requesting clarification on the definition of a diagnostic specimen under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180). You stated under the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA's) airworthiness requirements all diagnostic specimens are considered hazardous since some diagnostic specimens contain hazardous materials. You also stated certain air carriers are prevented from transporting hazardous materials under the FAA's airworthiness requirements. Your questions have been paraphrased and answered in the order provided.

Q1: Are routine diagnostic specimens such as urine tests for drug screenings, blood tests for routine physicals, etc., taken from healthy individuals that are not suspected of containing a pathogen considered to be hazardous materials under the HMR?

AI: The answer is no. Samples transported for routine testing and samples transported to investigate non-communicable diseases or conditions that are not known or suspected of being contaminated with an infectious substance do not meet the definition in § 173 .134( a)(1) for a Division 6.2 (infectious) material and, therefore, are not regulated under the RMR.

Q2: Is the wording "Diagnostic Specimen," as a regulated term of art, prohibited as a marking on shipments of specimens that are not classed as hazardous materials under § 172.303 or any other part of the HMR?

A2: The answer is no. Section § 172.303(b )(3) permits a proper shipping name, such as "Diagnostic specimen," listed on the § 172.101 Table to be marked on a package containing a non-regulated material provided the marking does not include a UN or NA identification number. The intent of the provision is to provide shippers and transporters relief when using proper shipping names that also describe non-regulated materials.



Edward T. Mazzullo, Director
RSPA Office of Hazardous Materials Safety


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.134 Class 6, Division 6.2-Definitions and exceptions