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Dangerous Goods Shipping

Universities and colleges nationwide are experiencing increased scrutiny of their hazardous materials shipping practices. At the same time, shipping requirements for hazardous materials are becoming more complex. In several recent cases, campuses have been penalized with fines for errors in their shipments and documentation.  As a result, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville requires that all shipments of hazardous materials must follow the regulations set forth by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).  Due to these requirements, only qualified, trained personnel are allowed to ship hazardous materials at the university.

Shipping hazardous materials is regulated by numerous governmental and non-governmental organizations. In addition to potential public safety implications, each violation of the regulations may result in a civil penalty of up to $30,000. A violation can result in five years imprisonment and penalties of $250,000. Persons who willfully violate the regulations may be subject to criminal prosecution with penalties of up to $500,000 and/or five years imprisonment.

Activities that constitute hazardous material/dangerous goods shipping include:

  • Sending samples or other materials that constitute hazardous materials or dangerous goods off campus, out of state, or out of the country via a carrier such as: USPS, FedEx, UPS, etc.
  • Carrying an item with you when you travel via a car or airplane.
  • Shipping a package that contains dry ice.

How do I know if a material is a Hazardous Material?

It is the responsibility of the person who initiates the shipment of a material to determine (or seek assistance to determine) if the material meets the IATA or DOT definition of a dangerous good/hazardous material. In general, if the item has to be disposed as a hazardous material, it may require that it be shipped as a hazardous material.  Contact or contact the Office of Environmental Health and Safety (865-974-5084) for guidance.

How do I ship a Dangerous Good/Hazardous Material?

Email all shipment requests to

  • five working days lead time in order to have time to prepare, package and ship the chemicals for domestic shipments and ten working days lead time for international shipments. Rush shipments will require additional fees for services. You are responsible for packaging the item.
  • Shipping costs and any packing supply costs will be billed back to the PI or department.