Class 6.2 Infectious Substances

Information for GP practices, healthcare centres, residential care homes and veterinary practices

ADR sets out detailed provisions for the carriage of infectious substances and wastes.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has published a comprehensive guidance document on this subject. The current edition of this publication provides practical guidance to facilitate compliance with applicable international regulations for the transport of infectious substances by all modes of transport, both nationally and internationally, and includes the changes that applied from 1 January 2021.

WHO Guidance on regulations for the transport of infectious substances 2021 - 2022

For commonly transported biological substances, such as blood or tissue samples from GP practices, healthcare centres, residential care homes and veterinary practices, see section 6, pages 17 – 20 of the WHO guide.

Section 6 also covers packaging for exempt human specimens, exempt animal specimens and biological substances, category B.

Exempt human or exempt animal specimens are those for which there is a minimal likelihood that pathogens are present and when packaged to prevent any leakage (triple layer packaging) and marked with “Exempt human specimen” or “Exempt animal specimen”, are not subject to ADR.

To determine if a substance is exempt, an element of professional judgement is required. The judgement should be based on medical history, symptoms and individual circumstances of the source, human or animal, and endemic local conditions.

Examples of specimens which may be carried under these conditions include:

  • blood or urine tests to monitor cholesterol levels, blood glucose levels, hormone levels, or prostrate specific antibodies;
  • those required to monitor organ function such as heart, liver or kidney for human or animals with non-infectious diseases or for therapeutic drug monitoring;
  • those conducted for insurance or employment purposes and are intended to determine the presence of drugs or alcohol;
  • pregnancy test;
  • biopsies to detect cancer;
  • antibody detection in humans or animals in the absence of any concern for infection.

For substances classified as UN No. 3373, BIOLOGICAL SUBSTANCE, CATEGORY B, that is, substances that are known or reasonably expected to contain pathogens, ADR packing instruction P650 must be followed as set out in the WHO guide.

See also the requirements for Category A infectious substances and clinical waste covered in the WHO guide.

For further assistance in any of these matters, please seek the advice of a dangerous goods safety adviser (DGSA).