USPS Issues Battery Ban

Watch a video of lithium battery explosion – click on the link at the bottom of this article.

It’s about to get a lot harder to mail most tech gadgets overseas.  Starting May 16, the USPS is banning the overseas shipping of all kinds of lithium-ion batteries. The reason for this is that lithium-ion batteries, when fully charged or improperly stored, can burst into flames, which isn’t good. The ban doesn’t sound too bad when you put it that way, but when you realize that tablets, smart phones, laptops, portable gaming devices, and MP3 players frequently use lithium-ion batteries, it starts to sound a little more intense.  Lithium batteries are believed to have caused at least two fires on cargo planes since 2006.

That said, it’s only the USPS that is issuing the ban, so if you really need to send an iPad to France or something, you can still use FedEx, UPS, or DHL, but you’ll probably have to pay a little more.

Customers sending electronic devices are asked to remove the lithium batteries first.  Devices listed below have lithium batteries that can be removed.  The new rule will impact soldiers overseas who receive those electronics, since some private shipping companies will not send items to military addresses.  Once delivered batteries may be purchased by the recipient at the PX or at a store in their country that carries them.

This restriction only applies to packages shipped postal to international addresses, APO and FPO destinations.  Examples of common electronic devices containing lithium batteries are:

  • Video cameras
  • Walkie talkies and 2 way radios
  • GPS devices
  • Radio controlled toys
  • Cameras
  • Scanners
  • Cell Phones,
  • MP3 Players
  • Bluetooth headsets
  • Smart-phones
  • Laptop computers
  • Shavers
  • Ower Drills
  • Tablets – Ipads
  • Portable DVD players

IMPORTANT NOTE 1:  Domestic USPS mailing of these items and their batteries remains unrestricted.

IMPORTANT NOTE 2:  FedEx and UPS are not affected by this restriction so they may be an alternate option for shipping electronics with lithium batteries to international destinations.