RSPA Proposes Changes to Improve Transportation of Infectious Substances

April 1, 2001
The United States Department of Transportation's Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA) has proposed changes to regulations governing transportation

The United States Department of Transportation's Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA) has proposed changes to regulations governing transportation of infectious substances. This proposal is designed to enhance safe transportation of these materials and to harmonize those regulations with international transportation standards.

The proposed rule applies to infectious substances, including diagnostic specimens, biological products, regulated medical waste, and genetically modified microorganisms. Proposed changes to the hazardous materials regulations include:

  • Adopting new classification criteria for infectious substances based on criteria developed by the World Health Organization and consistent with standards contained in the United Nations' Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods and the International Civil Aviation Organization's Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air.

  • Revising packaging requirements for infectious substances for consistency with international performance standards.

  • Imposing certain packaging and hazardous communication requirements for shipments of diagnostic specimens. Such specimens transported in dedicated motor vehicles by private or contract carriers would continue to be excepted from many requirements.

  • Limiting the current biological products exception to those biological products licensed for use under regulations of the Federal Drug Administration or US Department of Agriculture.

  • Adding requirements for transportation of genetically modified microorganisms consistent with international requirements.

  • Providing new bulk packaging options for transportation of regulated medical waste.

  • Making new hazard communication requirements for shipments of infectious substances, including a new marking requirement for bulk shipments of regulated medical waste.

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