Office of Research Assurances

Hazardous Materials Shipping

Frequently Asked Questions


  1. When do I need to contact the shipping coordinator?
    1. Same day request should be submitted by 10:00am and ready for pick up by noon. For international shipments, contact us before you purchase dry ice.
  2. Do I have to fill out any paperwork?
    1. Central Receiving requires all packages that come through them to have a “Request for Shipment of Merchandise”. You can order the form through University stores or access the form online via WSU e-forms.
  3. Does my shipment always get there on time or the scheduled time that the shipping company says it will?
    1. Not always. Shipments get held up in customs. Shipments with dry ice get held up because the plane has too much dry ice on it. Bad weather can delay flights. Accidents happen (shipping papers get ripped off of package). If it is an important shipment you might want to think about insurance. If it is an important shipment with dry ice you might want to consider extra dry ice.
  4. Do I need to take the online dry ice training to ship dry ice?
    1. If you are at the Pullman WSU campus, you need to call the office of Research Assurances and they will come to your area, package your items, and ship them off. If you are not at the Pullman WSU campus you must take the dry ice training if you intend to ship a package with dry ice.
  5. Does the Office of Research Assurances provide dry ice?
    1. No, you will have to purchase dry ice from University Stores.
  6. How much dry ice should I use?
    1. Depending on the size of your shipment you should have at least 5 lbs of dry ice per day of transit. Transit times are subject to factors that are sometimes out of our control.
  7. Can I ship dry ice in just a Styrofoam container?
    1. No. Styrofoam containers are not acceptable to meet external packaging requirements of a hazardous materials shipment. This applies whether or not a specification package is required. While you may see inbound shipments containing dry ice in just a Styrofoam container. This method of packaging is not compliant.
  8. How do I know if my package contains a dangerous good or hazardous material?
    1. Call the Office of Research Assurance and explain what you are shipping and we will let you know if your package contains dangerous goods or hazardous materials.
  9. Are batteries considered hazardous materials and regulated for shipping
    1. Certain batteries i.e. Lithium, Lead Acid, etc. are regulated for transportation. Please Contact the Office of Research Assurances to review your shipment against the regulations.
  10. If I am going to ship a radioactive material do I contact you (Office of Research Assurances)?
    1. No, you need to contact the Radiation Safety Office at 335-8916.
  11. Can I return a vendor shipment of hazardous materials if I don’t open it, and use the same packaging and markings to return it?
    1. No. The return shipment of a hazardous material is still a hazardous material shipment. If you cause the shipment to be reentered into transportation, you become the formal shipper and now you take on the role of the shipper including all the risks, restrictions and liabilities.
  12. Do I need to do anything special when shipping hazardous materials to an international destination?
    1. Shipping hazardous materials from the USA requires meeting not only the hazardous materials regulations, but other regulations as well. Shipments from the University may require a Material Transfer Authority (MTA). Certain biological type shipments may require licensing from various Federal Agencies, i.e. Center for Disease Control (CDC), Department of Fish and Game (DFG) etc. Additionally, due the nature of your shipment, you may need to meet export licensing requirements. Contact the shipping coordinator before your shipment date.
  13. I’m only shipping a very small quantity of hazardous materials. Is my shipment still regulated?
    1. Shipping or transporting even a small quantity of hazardous materials regulated by the Department of Transportation (DOT) or the International Civil Aviation Organization as published in the International Air Transport Association as published in the International Air Transport Association (IATA) still constitutes a hazardous material shipment, although less restrictive shipping requirements may be available. Contact the Office of Research Assurances to get further information.
  14. Can I insure my intellectual property?
    1. Yes, but if something happens to your package you have to prove that your intellectual property is worth the amount that you insured it for. For FedEx express the most you can insure one package is $5,000.00.
Office of Research Assurances, P.O. Box 643005, Albrook Rm. 205, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-3005
Hazardous Material and Shipping Coordinator: Phone: 509-432-3869, Fax: 509-335-6410