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Obtaining an Acceptable Specimen

POSTAL REGULATIONS

You may have noticed that our return envelopes have changed. The United States Postal Service has revised their standards. The excerpt below is taken from DMM Issue 54 Plus Postal Bulletin Changes Through PB 22004 (08-22-1999).

8.0 INFECTIOUS SUBSTANCES (HAZARD CLASS 6, DIVISION 6.2)

General

Infectious substances (i.e., etiologic agents), clinical specimens, and biological products are not permitted in international mail or domestic mail, except when they are intended for medical or veterinary use, research, or laboratory certification related to public health; and when it is determined that such items are properly prepared for mailing to withstand shocks, pressure changes, and other conditions incident to ordinary handling in transit…. For domestic mail, mailable infectious substances must meet the applicable standards in 8.0.

Definitions

8.2b. Clinical (diagnostic) specimen means any human or animal material including, but not limited to, excretions, secretions, blood, blood components, tissue, and tissue fluids collected and being shipped for purpose of diagnosis.

The response of Newborn Screening programs throughout the country has been to change to TYVEK® envelopes. The envelopes are waterproof and tear-proof. The state of Utah agreed and decided to also change to TYVEK® envelopes. We encourage your facility to use similar envelopes when sending newborn screening in larger quantities. The manila envelopes do not provide protection for blood borne pathogens as they tear and are not waterproof. Alternately, each collection kit may be placed in its individual envelope with several of these placed in a larger manila envelope.