EH&S assists laboratory researchers to manage shipments and transportation of dangerous goods, including chemicals, radioactive materials, and biological materials, by ground, air, or sea, in order to comply with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations, International Airline Transportation Association (IATA) guidelines and/or Maritime law. Transporting certain materials may require import/export permits or other documentation from federal agencies including, US Border Protection and Customs, FDA, USDA/APHIS, Fish and Wildlife, and CDC.

Many of these requirements apply to both domestic and foreign shipping and transportation activities. In addition, Export Controls apply to any goods or materials being shipped outside of the US or to a foreign national within US borders. Questions pertaining to the export control review process or export control documentation (commercial invoices, Shipper’s Letter of Instruction (SLI), Electronic Export Information (EEI)) may be directed to the HMS Export Control Administrator:

Please consult with EH&S prior to shipping any materials, to a domestic or foreign destination, from Harvard Medical School. EH&S can be reached at: Phone: (617) 496-3797;

EH&S has also developed a manual to provide guidance for shipping and transport of research materials, including hand-carrying items through the airport. Hand carrying research materials is particularly risky and researchers are cautioned to proceed with great care to comply with all necessary packaging and documentation standards before going to the airport. 

The PI should also be aware of and approve the release of any materials from his or her lab. Researchers are not allowed to take research materials or data from Harvard without permission.

Researchers are encouraged to discuss with their PIs, on a regular basis, what materials they think they will need to take with them upon their departure.


EH&S Shipping and Transport Manual

EH&S Research Materials Shipping and Transport website

Harvard Export Control Policy

Harvard Export Control Website

Material Transfer Agreements