Dangerous Goods Shipments via Ground/Air
Important notice:
The information on this page is for those who want to learn more about how domestic or international shipping regulations will affect their shipment and the associated costs of shipping SPI Supplies products to their laboratories.
Many of the products for electron and light microscopy offered by SPI Supplies are considered dangerous goods materials for purposes of transportation. SPI Supplies will ship these dangerous goods in strict conformity with United States Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Technical Instructions, International Air Transport Association (IATA) Dangerous Goods Regulations, and other international conventions. These rules will be followed exactly and will always take precedence over any other customer specified shipping requests.
Labeling, marking and GHS information is followed according to regulation guidelines established by USDOT,ICAO and IATA.
Domestic USA Customers:
US DOT regulations apply as they pertain to the shipment of dangerous goods.
International Customers:
IATA (International Air Transportation Association) and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) regulations apply as they pertain to the shipment of dangerous goods.
For your convenience, we list below the identifying labels for dangerous goods. These icons can be found on our web site pages next to all the dangerous goods products SPI Supplies has to offer.

Hazardous Labels

Division 2.1

Flammable Gas

Class 2
Division 2.1

division 2.2

Non-Flammable Gas

Class 2
Division 2.2

Class 3

Flammable Liquid

Class 3

division 4.2

Spontaneously Combustible

Class 4
Division 4.2

division 4.1

Flammable Solid

Class 4
Division 4.1

division 4.3

Dangerous when wet

Class 4
Division 4.3

division 5.1


Class 5
Division 5.1

division 5.2

Organic Peroxide

Class 5
Division 5.2

division 6.1

Toxic Substance

Class 6
Division 6.1

Class 7


Class 7

Class 8


Class 8

Class 9


Dangerous Goods

Class 9

Saving Money on Shipping Costs

SPI Supplies believes in the concept that our customers should be educated to order smart (ie: in the most cost effective way). We can offer our customers, both domestic and international, two approaches to saving money. Both involve ordering "smart", especially in these days of tighter and tighter research budgets.

1. - Avoid small orders of standard size "put ups" of items classified as dangerous goods.
Usually, the addition of a single item classified as dangerous goods in a shipment increases the shipping cost, a lesser amount domestically, but a potentially enormous amount internationally.

2. - Small quantity packaging.
SPI has reformulated and repackaged some items to comply with special small quantity shipping regulations.

In order to make it easy to identify those products that can be ordered "smart", and shipped at more attractive shipping rates, we have created our own SPI symbol system to highlight such items:


There are exceptions to every rule, and the OK-SPI shipping approach is no exception: Some countries can not accept OK-SPI shipments, and therefore, to those destinations, air freight is the only option. Please contact us for information regarding a shipment to your country.

We now consider two different cases:

1. - For domestic USA shipments containing no dangerous goods items except those designated by: OK-SPI

For U.S. domestic shipments only, SPI can ship many items under the provisions of 49 CFR 173.4 and additional items under a special permit granted by the U.S. Department of Transportation, exemption DOT-E 6971. Using either of these methods, small quantities of materials classified as dangerous goods may be shipped, in essence, as if they were not dangerous goods, provided SPI uses its specially devised and approved packaging system. There is a nominal charge for the special packaging materials, such cost is much less than the shipping costs being saved. It is difficult to obtain the DOT-E 6971 permit and SPI Supplies is one of only a small number of companies in the United States which enjoy this privilege.

In order to be in compliance with both DOT-E 6971 and 49 CFR 173.4, extensive package design and testing was necessary before a single shipment could be made using this exemption.

Still, there are some products that cannot be shipped under these exemptions and have to be shipped as they have always been shipped, and several examples would include the SPI Two-In-One™ Dusters, VacSeal™ in liquid and aerosol form, and some of the components in our embedding resin kits. In a few instances we have denoted products with OK-SPI as applying only to international shipments, not for domestic shipments. For those cases, the cost to ship domestically in the USA is only marginally higher because of the dangerous goods nature of the material. We therefore did not bother to reformulate product sizes smaller than indicated.

Special SPI-imposed Dangerous Goods Packaging Charges will apply for all shipments going out under one of the exemptions permitting the lower cost shipping methods. Since all involve a higher level and more stringent packaging system, these charges are passed on to our customers. Note that in general, the charge is levied once for the shipment, which can cover a number of different individual Dangerous Goods and it is not a levy on each dangerous goods. For larger shipments involving a quantity of different dangerous goods, it is possible that more than one special packaging system would be required and in that case, a second Dangerous Goods Packaging Charge could apply. Also, in some cases, we cannot ship two dangerous goods in the same package, because they can react with each other in the event of breakage. By US Department of Transportation regulations such products must be shipped separately. Please note that additional Dangerous Goods Packaging Charge will be applied.

2. - For international shipments containing no dangerous goods items except those designated as: OK-SPI

For all international shipments, ICAO/IATA regulations prevail, and the just described exemptions from the U.S. DOT, both DOT-E 6971 and also under 49 CFR 173.4 do not apply.

Working in cooperation with several of the couriers services (UPS, FedEx and DHL) SPI Supplies is authorized to make "excepted quantity shipments" to certain foreign destinations, provided the shipment contains absolutely no dangerous goods items except for those also designated by OK-SPI in the SPI Supplies product line. Some of our biggest selling items, such as silver paint thinner and osmium tetroxide (crystals and aqueous) can be shipped as an SPI "Excepted Quantity Shipment". Examples of items that can not be shipped this way would include some common components in our embedding resin kits and Vac-Seal in aerosol and liquid form.

It has been our experience that for many shipments described above, using one of the designated courier services (UPS, FedEx and DHL) for "excepted quantity shipments", the shipping costs can be a mere fraction of what they might otherwise have been if the shipment was made via regular air freight.

Not all foreign countries are covered under this "excepted quantity" rule. Some contries not covered include China, India (except Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore), and Brazil (except Sao Paulo, Rio De Janeiro, Santa Catarina, and Rio Grande Do Sul). Whether or not a country will accept "excepted quantity" products by one of the courier services is determined by the country, not the courier service companies.

If you have any questions about our recommendations for "ordering smart" about domestic "small quantity" or international "excepted quantity" packaging charges or about our dangerous goods packaging charges, please contact us.