House approves change to lithium battery shipping standards

House approves change to lithium battery shipping standards
President Obama's administration is attempting to pass a law which would classify lithium batteries as hazardous materials, as they could overheat and ignite. That law would force manufacturers, retailers, and airlines to change their packaging, training, and handling methods.

But the House has passed a law which prevents limitations on air shipments of lithium batteries. According to the Rechargeable Battery Association, those limitations would cost $1.3 billion in the first year alone.

Japanese suppliers are probably relieved to hear that the House is preempting President Obama's proposition. As Japanese suppliers make up the lion's share of international battery suppliers, and they are still struggling to recover from the earthquakes and tsunami, the extra cost would be especially damaging.

We'll know more about the potential limitations in the coming weeks, as a House-Senate committee is meeting to rectify the differences between the two bills. But our concern, as end-users, is more for the potential cost-increase of our favorite electronics.

Concerns over lithium batteries first gained attention in 2006, when Apple and others had to recall products using lithium ion batteries, after there were reports of overheating, and even fires. Have you ever owned a defective/dangerous lithium-powered device?

source: Bloomberg via AppleInsider
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