Shipping and Handling of Dangerous Goods Regulations

Except in exceptional cases, it is sufficient to send us one or a few tubes securely closed and including each one sample (1cm x 2cm) dipped in 1 to 1.5 mL of buffer. If available to you, we prefer RNALater. Failing this, feel free to use ethanol 70 % or formaldehyde 4% in seawater (v/v). Whatever you use, please indicate clearly what buffer your sample is in.

European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road or ADR* (ISBN 978-92-1-139149-7) is applicable from 1 January 2015 in all EU Member States, including the UK.

  • RNAlater – proprietary (made up primarily of propylene glycol, CAS 7783-20-2) is not listed as a dangerous good.
  • Only formaldehyde and ethanol are covered under dangerous goods regulations. Formaldehyde in concentrations of 4.0% (CAS 50-00-0, UN No. 1198) and Water-Ethanol solution used in concentration of 70% (CAS 64-17-5, UN No. 1170) are regulated for transport and fall into Packing Group III (i.e. low danger). According to the ADR (column 7b of Table A of Chapter 3.2 and §, if you are transporting ‘limited quantities’, you don’t need to follow all the normal packaging and labelling regulations, in this case, less than 5 litres with an inner receptacle containing not more than 30 mL.

Therefore, we advise shipping samples in tubes that contain less than 30 ml of either RNAater, up to 4 % formaldehyde or 70% ethanol. If you use more than 30 ml, then each tube must be placed within a securely secondary package. Sufficient cushioning and absorbent material (e.g. tissue roll) must surround tube and be capable of absorbing the entire contents of the receptacle. All the receptacles must be placed within a securely third packaging and the total contents of which may not exceed 1 litre for Packing Group III liquids.

Please, be aware that International shipping regulations vary widely from country to country. If you are based outside the EU, we recommend that to check your country shipping regulations.

All three major courier services (FedEx*, UPS* and DHL*) accept dangerous goods in accepted quantities for international delivery under specific regulations. Similarly, countries have a single national postal service with their own list of prohibited and restricted items. In all the case, it is important to check if what you are sending is allowed. As an example, for the UK post office, flammable liquids (not more than 70% ABV) can be carried in an international post but subject to volume, quantity, packaging and labelling restrictions. Volume per item must not exceed 30 mL and must be placed in strong outer packaging and be so packed, secured or cushioned in such a way that they cannot break, be punctured or leak their contents into the outer packaging. The sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.