Shipping Information

Before any samples can be received, your Hair or Saliva Declaration must be completed, returned to Anglia Ruskin Biomarker Analysis Laboratory and approved by our lab staff. We cannot accept ANY samples without this document.

Prior to arranging a delivery, please contact Anglia Ruskin Biomarker Analysis Laboratory on +44 (0)1223 698 143 or email

Hair Sample Shipment

Hair samples, as long as they are expected not to contain pathogens that affect humans, are exempt from IATA dangerous goods regulations.  Do not use plastic bags, clingwrap, wax paper or other non-breathable containers to wrap your samples, as this may cause ‘sweating’ of cortisol from the hair.

However, for hair samples many postal services/couriers still require packaging that is equivalent to that used for UN3373 ( Category B Biological Substances) dried samples.

To ensure that your samples are not held up during shipping, we recommend the following packaging:

  1. Breathable sift-proof primary container (e.g. tinfoil wrapping / paper envelope) – place your barcode labels on this packaging.
  2. Breathable sift-proof secondary container (e.g. paper envelope / paper bag)
  3. Sufficiently strong outer packaging to hold the contents (e.g. heavyweight paper envelope / padded envelope)
  4. Labelling on outer packaging that states ‘Exempt Patient Hair Specimens – Non-hazardous – Not restricted’
  5. Ensure the sender’s address (your address) and the delivery address, with contact telephone numbers for each address, are clearly shown on the outer packaging. A DHL waybill should be sufficient for this.

N.B. Some couriers may wish to inspect package contents on collection.


Saliva Sample Shipment

Ensure barcode labels are attached to all cryovials/storage tubes. Labels should not overlap the lid or swab storage tube “cradle” section and should be orientated with the barcode running along the length of the tube as per the diagram below:

All samples should ideally be frozen prior to shipping, with caps and lids secured. To comply with IATA requirements for shipping Category B Biological Substances (IATA code UN3373) your packaging must consist of 4 components:

  1. Primary container (e.g. cryovials/swab storage tubes). These should be watertight where relevant.
  1. Watertight secondary container (e.g. storage box/leak-proof bag)
  2. Sufficient absorbent material (e.g. paper towel/cotton wool balls) between the primary and the secondary containers to absorb the full contents of the primary containers. Even though saliva is pre-absorbed into swabs, courier staff are not likely to realise this and may send your package back if they don’t see absorbent material within the secondary container. We therefore advise you to add absorbent material in all cases.
  1. Rigid outer packaging (e.g. Styrofoam polybox)
  2. (Optional) A cardboard box surrounding the outer packaging – this is a requirement for shipments made via some courier companies and may be advisable for large/heavy shipments.


You should also:

  1. Include an itemised list of all samples shipped in the package.
  2. Describe the contents on your courier waybill as: “Human Saliva Samples – Biological Substance Category B – UN3373”
  3. Secure the outer box with tape, attach a UN3373 sticker to the outside of the box, and ensure the sender’s address (your address) and the delivery address, with contact telephone numbers for each address, are clearly shown on the outer packaging. A DHL waybill should be sufficient for this.


The principle of UN3373 is that all samples should be triple-packed with two layers of leak-proof containers, sufficient absorbent material to contain any spillage, and outer packaging that can withstand a fall from 1.2m. Please see the photos below for further guidance. N.B. Some couriers may wish to inspect box contents on collection.

On the day your pre-frozen samples are ready to be shipped, place sufficient dry ice or solid cold packs (‘blue ice’) around the samples to keep them at the required temperature until arrival. Do not use normal ice made from water; it will leak during shipping and cause a panic! N.B. It is advisable to plan an additional contingency of dry ice/cold blocks in case your shipment is delayed.

Dry Ice shipments

Most salivary analytes must be shipped frozen on dry ice. If shipping samples on dry ice, please follow your institute’s safe handling instructions, and follow the IATA packaging and labelling guidelines for dry ice shown below:

  1. Attach a Category 9 Hazard label and a UN1845 sticker stating the weight of dry ice within the shipment
  2. Add the following to the description/contents field on your waybill: “Dry Ice – Hazard Class 9 – UN1845 Net wt= X kg”, where X is replaced with the weight of dry ice used.
  3. Ensure sufficient ventilation to allow for CO2 release during shipping, to prevent the buildup of pressure within your outer packing.

N.B. samples should not come into direct contact with dry ice, dry ice should be located only between the secondary container and the outer packaging.