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PRBA Reminds Travelers Flying Over the Holidays To Observe DOT Rules for Lithium Batteries

Washington (December 18, 2014)—As the holiday travel season reaches its peak the next two weeks, airline passengers should remember the importance of following the U.S. Department of Transportation safety regulations that apply to lithium batteries and battery-powered consumer electronic products in checked baggage or carry-on luggage, PRBA – The Rechargeable Battery Association said today.

“If airline passengers observe the Department of Transportation safety requirements, they will minimize mistakes that can cause problems with lithium batteries and every day products such as cell phones, tablets, e-readers and laptops containing these batteries,” said PRBA Executive Director George Kerchner.

An estimated 45 million people are expected to fly on U.S. airlines during the holiday season that started Wednesday, December 17 and continues through Sunday, January 4, according to estimates by Airlines for America, an industry trade group.

Below are the regulations applicable to lithium ion and lithium metal batteries and products containing those batteries carried on aircraft by passengers.

  • Spare lithium ion and lithium metal batteries are strictly prohibited in checked baggage but are permitted in carry-on baggage. But there are size restrictions. Lithium metal batteries may not contain more than two grams of lithium metal and lithium ion batteries may not exceed a Watt-hour (Wh) rating of 100 Wh.
  • Portable electronic equipment containing lithium ion batteries with a Wh rating not exceeding 100 Wh or lithium metal batteries not exceeding two grams of lithium metal may be placed in checked or carry-on baggage.
  • In addition, lithium ion batteries larger than 100 Wh but not exceeding 160 Wh may be carried aboard the aircraft if approved by the airline. These larger lithium ion batteries are limited to two spares plus one installed in the equipment and must always be placed in carry-on baggage. These larger lithium ion batteries can be found in professional audio-visual and “extended life” after-market notebook computer applications.
  • Damaged or recalled batteries are strictly prohibited from being carried aboard the aircraft.

Lithium batteries pose minimal risk aboard aircraft if recommended safety precautions such as the ones listed below are undertaken.

  • Keep spare batteries in their original retail packaging. If the original packaging is unavailable, tape over the electrical connections or place in a separate plastic bag.
  • Prevent loose batteries from coming in contact with metal objects.
  • Charge only rechargeable batteries.
  • Use only the charger designed for the specific battery. Every battery comes with a compatible charger. Don’t mix and match.
  • If you must carry a battery-powered device in any baggage, package it to prevent inadvertent activation.
  • Take steps to prevent crushing or puncturing of batteries

“Batteries must be used, treated and packaged correctly. Travelers must understand that even the minimal risk associated with batteries and battery-powered products is further reduced if DOT regulations and procedures are followed,” Kerchner added.


Air Shipments of Lithium ion Batteries Are Safe – and Getting Safer

Battery Industry Coalition Has Endorsed Tougher Air Transport Regulations for Lithium Batteries


Washington (December 4, 2014) — Contrary to sensationalized media accounts, the air transport of lithium ion cells and batteries is fundamentally safe. As a result, the battery and electronics industries have an outstanding track record of safely shipping lithium ion batteries. And in 2014, U.S. and international regulations on the air transport of lithium batteries took a giant step forward.

The ongoing and combined efforts by U.S. and international transport authorities, the battery and electronics industries, airline industry and global shipping and transport companies are aimed at strengthening the lithium battery transport regulations and, very importantly, improving compliance and enforcement of existing rules.

Safety is the No. 1 priority for PRBA and our members. PRBA – The Rechargeable Battery Association leads a coalition that worked for several years with regulators to ensure U.S. regulations governing the air transport of lithium batteries were updated to harmonize with much stricter international regulations. In August 2014, the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration published a final rule on lithium batteries doing just this.

More recently, PRBA has aggressively supported additional regulatory responses to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration tests and videos that have provided dramatic news footage for television networks. Meetings held in the U.S., Canada, Germany and Brazil over the last 10 months produced new lithium battery air transport regulations and proposals, endorsed by PRBA. These include a prohibition on the transport of lithium metal batteries as cargo on passenger aircraft that takes effect on January 1, 2015. In addition, new restrictions on large shipments of lithium ion and lithium metal batteries aboard passenger and cargo aircraft are being developed.

PRBA has also co-hosted working group meetings to consider revisions of mandatory UN lithium battery testing requirements. All these efforts are continuing, and will enhance safety.
Finally, PRBA for years has voiced its concerns about the importance of enforcement of all these regulations and testing requirements. Improved compliance and robust enforcement are essential to assuring safety. In August, PRBA formally wrote to the International Civil Aviation Organization requesting assistance to address this matter. PRBA has been informed by ICAO that the issue will be addressed at a meeting this year of the Directors General of Civil Aviation, Asia and Pacific Regions.

In short, the battery and electronics industries will continue working with U.S. and international regulators to enhance and improve the safe transport of all types of lithium batteries.
Lithium ion batteries powered the consumer electronics revolution. They are the fuel source for cellular phones, notebooks, tablets and many other consumer-type electronic products. They also are essential to life-saving medical devices, including portable diagnostic equipment, heart monitors and hand-held surgical tools. America’s armed services increasingly rely on lithium ion batteries, from advanced weapons systems to night vision goggles, because of their higher energy density and lighter weight.

The greening of the American economy depends on lithium ion batteries because they play a key role in electric and hybrid electric vehicles. Lithium ion batteries also are essential to combating climate change and in storing electricity produced by intermittent sources of clean energy such as solar and wind power.

PRBA understands that these benefits depend on the safe transport of lithium ion batteries. That’s why safety remains the No. 1 priority for PRBA and our members.



About PRBA

PRBA members power the consumer electronics revolution. We deliver a safe, efficient, and essential power source for portable electronic equipment such as notebook computers, tablets, cellular phones and power tools, medical devices as well as hybrid and electric vehicles and containerized lithium ion battery stationary systems. PRBA members produce approximately 70 percent of the world’s lithium ion cells and account for billions of dollars in annual worldwide sales. With more than 70 members, PRBA is widely recognized as the nation’s authoritative source for information on rechargeable batteries.