Transportation Safety Cryogens

Dry Ice (Carbon Dioxide, Solid)

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Dry ice and other cryogens, such as liquid nitrogen (LN2), are often used in shipping to keep food, biological samples, and medical supplies like some vaccines cold for long periods of time during shipment. Employees working with these substances should be made aware of their hazards and how to protect themselves.

General precautions:

What is dry ice?

Is Carbon Dioxide (CO2) gas hazardous?

What are the symptoms of CO2 overexposure and health effects? 

What should I do if exposure to dry ice occurs?

Ingestion: Wash out mouth with water. Remove victim to fresh air and keep at rest in a position comfortable for breathing. If the material has been swallowed and the exposed person is conscious, provide small quantities of water to drink. Do not induce vomiting unless directed to do so by medical personnel. Get medical attention if symptoms occur.

How do I properly store dry ice?

How do I handle dry ice spills or leaks?

Does the US Department of transportation limit shipping quantities of dry ice?

Are there concerns in transporting dry ice via air?

Has the FAA detailed any considerations for shipping large quantities of dry ice?

Is a label required to ship dry ice via ground transportation only?

Is a label required to ship dry ice via air, rail, or cargo vessel?


  1. Transportation of COVID-19 Vaccines Requiring Large Quantities of Dry Ice. SAFO 20017, 12/10/20.
  2. CDC. Dry Ice for Healthcare Professionals. 1/7/21
  3. Carbon Dioxide, Safety Data Sheet. Airgas Updated 11/10/2018.
  4. OSHA Quick Facts, “Laboratory Safety: Cryogens and Dry Ice” Updated 10/2011.
  5. Harvard Dry Ice Shipping Information Guide. Rev 1. 12/2016