From 16 May it will not be possible to ship iPads, iPhones or laptops overseas from the U.S. using the United States Postal Service (USPS).
USPS believes that lithium batteries – which featurein devicesincluding the iPad, iPhone, MacBooks, and othersmartphones, laptops,and tablets – pose too great of a risk to be shipped overseas. Anamendment to the company’s documentation states: “lithium batteries arenot permitted in international mail.”
The USPS will still allow these products to be shipped within the U.S.UPS and FedEx will continue to ship suchitems overseas, however.
The revised Mailingsof Lithium Batteries document states: “Primary lithium metalor lithium alloy (nonrechargeable) cells and batteries or secondarylithium-ion cells and batteries (rechargeable) are prohibited whenmailed internationally or to and from an APO, FPO, or DPO location”.
USPS will lift the restriction in January 2013, however. The documentexplains: “On 1 January 2013, customers will be able to mail specificquantities of lithium batteries internationally (including to and froman APO, FPO, or DPO location) when the batteries are properly installedin the personal electronic devices they are intended to operate.”
The January 2013 modification is due to changes in internationalstandards that USPS is aware of following discussion with theInternational Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the UniversalPostal Union (UPU). “International standards have recently been thesubject of discussion by the International Civil Aviation Organization(ICAO) and the Universal Postal Union (UPU),” states USPS in itsdocumentation.
Apple is reported to have opposed stricter regulations restrictinglithium-battery shipments by air.
The reason for regulations regarding the transportation oflithium-batteries by air is that they can spontaneously combust. The UNrules, which will become effective on 1 January 2013, state that pilotsmust be notified when lithium batteries are on a flight, shipmentsshould be labelled as hazardous materials, and employees should havetraining in handling such cargo.
There have been severalplane crashes directly attributed to exploding lithium batteriesin the last few years, according to reports.