Warning: Federal Actions Regarding UW Transport or Shipping of Hazardous Materials

Recently, a UW-Madison researcher packed commonly-used research materials (ethanol and epoxy resin/hardener) in checked baggage for a plane trip to another institution. Neither the researcher nor the responsible PI were aware that the materials were considered hazardous, nor were they aware of the regulations regarding the shipment of hazardous materials in commerce.  The research materials were confiscated from the checked baggage.  The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is investigating the event, which could result in citations and substantial fines.

 All PIs are reminded that they are responsible for the following:

  • It is the responsibility of the PI to know which substances are hazardous, which are not, and to communicate this information to laboratory members;
  • All laboratories that transport or ship materials must  comply with International Air Transportation Association (IATA) and US Department of Transportation (DOT) shipping and transport regulations ( – Resources tab);
  • PIs must be aware of the requirement for specific training related to the transport of biological, chemical and radiological materials, and ensure that anyone who will be transporting or shipping such materials receives such training;
  • PIs must ensure that education on hazardous materials and awareness training about shipping and transportation regulations is included in the orientation processes for new laboratory members and periodic re-education of existing lab members.

Web Resources: has the following tabs:

  • Training
  • Bio HazMat shipping Certificate of Training
  • Hazardous Chemical Shipping Regulations
  • On-Campus Movement of Hazardous Materials
  • Resources

It is strongly recommended that any laboratories engaging in shipping or transportation of hazardous materials designate one or two individuals to be responsible for shipping from that laboratory so that they can receive the requisite training and provide oversight in this area.

If you or your staff need additional information or wish to obtain training on shipping and transportation of hazardous materials, please contact the Department of Environment, Health and Safety at 608-265-5000.  For specific program or individual contacts, please go to