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USPS Will Not Ship Li-ion Batteries Internationally Anymore

The United States Postal Service has said that starting next week, it's banning the overseas shipping of laptops, smartphones, tablets, or anything else with a lithium-ion battery. Starting May 16, our friends at USPS will be revising their mailing standards manual and prohibiting the international mailing of lithium ion batteries. Fast Company writes that the reasoning behind the ban is likely the fact that lithium ion batteries can catch fire or explode under certain circumstances and improperly stored or fully charged can pose a risk on flights.

Being unable to ship smartphones, laptops, Kindles or MP3 players overseas will be a headache for a lot of people, however, USPS says it doesn't expect the ban to last forever. Come January 2013, it anticipates that customers will be able to mail specific quantities of lithium batteries internationally as long as they're properly installed in the personal electronic device they're intended to power.

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  • wiyosaya
    Come January 2013, it anticipates that customers will be able to mail specific quantities of lithium batteries internationally as long as they're probably installed in the personal electronic device they're intended to power.
    Um, I'm sure you mean "properly installed."
    Reply
  • nthreem
    wiyosayaUm, I'm sure you mean "properly installed."You're properly right...
    Reply
  • Thank goodness
    Reply
  • hellwig
    Funny, I always thought you were supposed to disconnect the battery from the device before shipping. I mailed my mother an old Canon point-and-shoot and the clerk made sure the battery was disconnected. Not because it was LI-ON (she didn't ask), but because if the device turned itself on and started making noise, it was likely to be destroyed on the tarmac by the bomb squad.

    I think the hardest-hit here will be Apple product owners, with their non-removable LI-ON batteries. No more shipping your old 3GS to some company in India or China to get a few extra bucks. Although, I suppose there's always DHL.
    Reply
  • lamorpa
    Well that should help with the $3.2B losses per quarter...
    Reply
  • turbolover22
    How is the USPS supposed to check if the battery is "probably" installed in the device? Are they going to open up every package?
    Reply
  • aoneone
    I predict one day that the show Mythbusters on the Discovery channel will test to see if Lithium-Ion based batteries in such devices 'really' do catch fire and/or explode in certain situations. Mark my words. >.
    Reply
  • kikireeki
    What a stupid decision! It is like: Tom's hardware is banning every PC-related Article.
    Reply
  • rosen380
    There are billions of Li-Ion batteries in circulation-- how many burst into flames yearly? A couple, maybe?

    I'm guessing that the airlines carry more Li-Ion batteries in any given day then USPS does in six months...
    Reply
  • perfectblue
    Capitalism at its best...
    Reply