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Transporting Infectious Substances Overview

Infectious Substance Sign

Transporting Infectious Substances

An infectious substance is regulated as a hazardous material under the U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT's) Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 C.F.R., Parts 171-180). The HMR apply to any material DOT determines is capable of posing an unreasonable risk to health, safety, and property when transported in commerce.1 An infectious substance must conform to all applicable HMR requirements when offered for transportation or transported by air, highway, rail, or water. Refer to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) for guidance on handling these agents before transporting them (see

USDOT Safety Advisory: Packaging and Handling Ebola Virus Contaminated Infectious Waste for Transportation to Disposal Sites

PHMSA develops and enforces federal Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) to ensure the safe commercial transport of hazmat in interstate, intrastate and foreign commerce by aircraft, railcar, vessel, and motor vehicle. Because state governments disposing medical waste fall beyond the HMR's purview, PHMSA has issued this safety advisory in a preventive measure. The advisory provides an inventory of all relevant information PHMSA has issued for the reference of state and local governments in dealing with the waste, including guidance on packaging.

Updated: Monday, September 30, 2019