Here at EcoAnalysts, Inc. our number one priority is providing our clients with the best data possible. That begins with best sample handling practices to avoid samples being lost during shipping. If you have a certified Hazardous Materials Shipper, consult them for all shipping concerns. If you do not have one, or have any questions the following steps are to assist you and your company in getting samples to EcoAnalysts legally and intact. Failure to follow each of these steps in the past has resulted in samples being lost or seized during the shipping process, either from breakage or the seizure and destruction of packages for being illegal HazMat shipments.
Steps that must be followed in shipping
- If you are shipping in a cardboard box, use an undamaged and sturdy box to avoid samples being damaged or lost. We recommend 200lb test cardboard boxes or hard sided plastic coolers.
- Line your box or cooler with a garbage bag before you begin filling it, and once filled seal the bag either by tying, a zip tie, or other means.
- We do not accept glass containers for taxonomic samples due to ease of breakage and sample loss.
- Tape each jar lid tightly with either electrical tape or parafilm (minimum of 2 1/2 times around)
- Each sample container must be placed upright in the package
- Place enough padding on the bottom, top, and each side of the package to protect the sample containers from breaking due to impacts
- Put enough absorbent material in the package to absorb any spillage or leakage of samples
- Some jars have very poor fitting lids and are prone to leakage even when taped, if after taping the jars they still leak double bag each sample in Ziploc or similar type bags
- Fill each package completely: do not leave any empty space or your samples can shift around during shipping the package is much more likely to be damaged, and samples more likely to be lost
- Include a Chain of Custody or Packing List in the shipment in a Ziploc bag and/or an electronic version sent to the project coordinator that lists the samples as well as states what type of preservative was used for the samples
What type of preservative are your samples in
- If your samples are in Lugols there are no regulations on shipping them by ground or air.
- If your samples are in Formalin they may be freely shipped by ground, but require HazMat IATA Certification to ship by air.
- If your samples are in Ethanol or any other alcohol based preservative HazMat DOT certification is required for ground shipments, and HazMat IATA certification is required for shipment by air.
- If your samples are in Ethanol and you do not have access to a HazMat shipper they need to be decanted of all liquid and then shipped Overnight to EcoAnalysts, where they can be rehydrated with fresh Ethanol upon arrival. Please feel free to call EcoAnalysts for tips on decanting your samples if you have any questions.
- If your samples are in Formalin and you do not have access to a HazMat shipper, the samples must be shipped by ground or Decanted of all liquid and then shipped Overnight to EcoAnalysts to be rehydrated. (Ground shipment is advised rather than decanting Formalin)