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USPS To Ban International Shipping On Lithium Ion Powered Gadgetry

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the please-use-our-competitors dept.

Government 131

sl4shd0rk writes "Apparently the USPS is enacting a ban on the international shipment of all devices containing Lithium Ion batteries. The ban is expected to lift in January of 2013. It seems like this would drive more business away from the already floundering USPS financial situation. The article focuses on the shipment of items out of the U.S., but doesn't mention whether the same ban will apply to purchasing these items on eBay from overseas sources."

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131 comments

why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39968191)

why?

Re:why? (1)

wiedzmin (1269816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968469)

I had the same question. Someone in charge of USPS has a stake in nickel cadmium battery business?

Re:why? (2)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970275)

They're the stand-alone batteries and they are quite volatile unless they're protected and spread around like in a shipment of devices. Just because yours haven't exploded doesn't mean they don't explode. There's internal circuitry in your device that keeps the batteries from exploding. Most, but not all, Li and Li-Ion batteries have the circuitry internally. There's no easy way for me to tell (I'm an EE) so there's not a chance that a USPS worker will know.

A D Lithium cell will blow apart a cinderblock once it gets into thermal runaway.

Re:why? (2)

wiedzmin (1269816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970465)

Has this been a documented problem for a lot of USPS shipments, and is there a reason the ban is temporary? Are they hoping for all Lithium Ion batteries to self destruct by then?

Re:why? (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970963)

Maybe they've found a potential problem and they're taking a few months to study it and see if it's something they have to take seriously.

Re:why? (2)

deathlyslow (514135) | more than 2 years ago | (#39971619)

Well duh... The world is ending on the 21st of December. They just want you to think it's temporary...

Re:why? (1)

wiedzmin (1269816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39972411)

lol

Re:why? (0)

Killall -9 Bash (622952) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970463)

Apparently the USPS is subject to "international regulations". If they don't comply, they risk being fined by the "international government", and if they piss of the "international attorney general", they might end up in "international jail".

See how fucking silly all this sounds?

Re:why? (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 2 years ago | (#39971357)

Apparently the USPS is subject to "international regulations". If they don't comply, they risk being fined by the "international government", and if they piss of the "international attorney general", they might end up in "international jail". See how fucking silly all this sounds?

Indeed. Makes you wonder how anyone could be deluded enough to mistake that hyperbole for reality...

Re:why? (2)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 2 years ago | (#39971333)

why?

TFA:

Lithium batteries, which power many personal electronic devices, can explode or catch fire in certain conditions. In order to get around this, consumer electronic manufacturers such as Apple or Amazon ship their products with a minimal charge--which mitigates the safety risk. Fully charged, improperly stored, or improperly packed lithium batteries do pose a risk of explosion, however. Lithium batteries have been implicated in at least two fatal cargo plane crashes since 2006, including a UPS jet in Dubai.

I know... reading is hard... :p

Good job not reading (4, Informative)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968207)

The very USPS page that is linked to from this summary says that batteries that are in devices are generally exempt from this. Essentially you can ship all the iPods/iPads/iPhones you want. It is external (ie not built-in) batteries that have additional restrictions, though those are not very severe.

Re:Good job not reading (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39968333)

"Until January 2013, the Postal Service will not be able to accept packages containing lithium batteries and electronic devices containing lithium batteries addressed to international destinations"

I bolded the part you chose not to read.

Re:Good job not reading (4, Informative)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968455)

Also, you should read... the fact that there's a differentiation between Lithium and Lithium-Ion. Where the latest, the rechargeable ones seem to be allowed, contrary to the non-rechargeable ones.

Re:Good job not reading (3, Interesting)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968819)

Which is fascinating, because I've never heard of a watch battery bursting into flame during normal operation, yet this would appear to ban the international shipping of nearly all watches. Lithium ion batteries are a fire risk because of overheating, but probably 99% of the time, the overheating is caused by charging, which lithium primary cells do not do. I understand why you would not want to pack cartons of a hundred lithium primary cells (because if a fire occurs external to the batteries, they tend to intensify it), but a single cell here or there would seem to pose little risk.

Re:Good job not reading (1)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 2 years ago | (#39972547)

Actually, no. Lithium ion batteries are at risk of fire/explosion when they discharge. If you bridge the terminals you end up with a small incendiary device. There's also a risk of fire from poorly made batteries. I believe the Sony exploding laptop batteries that were in the Dell/Apple/etc devices had iron filings mixed in with the battery media in the cells.

No idea why USPS is banning this, we've had restrictions here in Australia for about 5 years now, but no sign of a ban.

Re:Good job not reading (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39968375)

So, what keeps the shippers from sticking a huge resistor and a low-current LED into a plastic housing, shoving the battery in (hey look, it's a low-power long-life flashlight!) and using that to ship? You could make them extra-huge to store backup batteries, even.

Re:Good job not reading (2)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968915)

So, what keeps the shippers from sticking a huge resistor and a low-current LED into a plastic housing, shoving the battery in (hey look, it's a low-power long-life flashlight!) and using that to ship? You could make them extra-huge to store backup batteries, even.

Why go to the trouble. There's plenty of other shipping companies out there with better reputations and better services. I think if there's any real impact from this change it is that more products will make it to their destinations since they'll be shipped by reputable carriers.

Re:Good job not reading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39968377)

I'm confused. The article's title directly contradicts your statement, plus one image has the following caption:

"Effective May 16, 2012 until further notice, customers may not tender electronic devices containing lithium batteries, including equipment with non-removable lithium batteries in Outbound International Mail."

Re:Good job not reading (3, Interesting)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968409)

Not also that according to the table (Exhibit 10.20.8 Lithium Battery Mailability Chart [usps.com] ). The ones non-mailable are the called primary, which seem to refer to the lithium batteries, not "Secondary" which seem to refer to the Lithium-Ion (rechargeable) batteries.

Am I confused about this?

Re:Good job not reading (1)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968435)

Arrgghh... where did that "Not" came from. Was "Note" or just "Also".

Preview... preview... preview...

Re:Good job not reading (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#39971655)

Arrgghh... where did that "Not" came from.

From relying on your spell checker rather than proofreading to notice if you hit the "e" hard enough.

Re:Good job not reading (1)

yuhong (1378501) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968545)

"Mailing batteries internationally, or to and from APO, FPO, or DPO destinations is prohibited regardless of mail class."

Re:Good job not reading (added irony) (0)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968415)

The very USPS page that is linked to from this summary says that batteries that are in devices are generally exempt from this. Essentially you can ship all the iPods/iPads/iPhones you want. It is external (ie not built-in) batteries that have additional restrictions, though those are not very severe.

Was the "good job not reading" a reference to yourself? Oh, the irony!

From the linked article [fastcompany.com] (emphasis mine):

According to the USPS, they will prohibit shipping of lithium batteries and any device containing them effective May 16.

And on the USPS page [usps.com] for the restriction, the USPS anticipates that after 1 January 2013 people will be able to resume mailing devices containing lithium batteries to overseas destinations. And that shipping such devices is banned from May 16 this year.

Re:Good job not reading (4, Informative)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968525)

The very USPS page that is linked to from this summary says that batteries that are in devices are generally exempt from this

Not sure what article you're reading so will paste it verbatim here from TFA. I don't interpret the "rechargeable" and "nonrechargeable" to explicitly mean "removed from the device":

"primary lithium metal or lithium alloy (nonrechargeable) cells and batteries or secondary lithium-ion cells and batteries (rechargeable) are prohibited when mailed internationally"

and then the part about being installed in the device - that's not until 2013:

"on January 1, 2013, cusÂtpmers will be able to mail specific quantities of lithium batteries internationally (including to and from an APO, FPO, or DPO location) when the batteries are properly installed in the personal electronic devices they are intended to operate."

Re:Good job not reading (2)

mk1004 (2488060) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968563)

The very USPS page that is linked to from this summary says that batteries that are in devices are generally exempt from this. Essentially you can ship all the iPods/iPads/iPhones you want. It is external (ie not built-in) batteries that have additional restrictions, though those are not very severe.

Read it again. It says that the USPS is prohibiting international shipments of lithium cells this year. They anticipate that the UPU and ICAO will allow lithium cells that are enclosed within personal electronic devices, starting 2013. Right now, you are not allowed to ship either the bare cells or cells contained within electronic devices.

IIRC, there have been several incidences in years past where fires have occurred after containers of bulk cells have been damaged by forklifts at airport terminals. Between that and some other isolated cases of consumer devices having problems on aircraft, plus some crashes of cargo planes that may be linked to fires from lithium cells, they've become a bit reluctant to allow lithium cells on passenger aircraft.

Re:Good job not reading (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 2 years ago | (#39969007)

So USPS thinks they will be able to solve the problem of damaging shipments by 2013? I have very serious doubts.

Re:Good job not reading (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968653)

A slashdotter told me a week ago that Li-Ion battery is "safe", and no longer spontaneously releases stored energy. Is that no longer the case?

Re:Good job not reading (1)

mcavic (2007672) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968967)

Li-Ion batteries are generally safe if they're manufactured well and undamaged. But as far as I know, they all have the potential to catch fire if something goes wrong.

Re:Good job not reading (1)

suprcvic (684521) | more than 2 years ago | (#39969527)

Not saying you're wrong as I didn't read the link, but the USPS seems to be contradicting themselves on this one according to the letter I received from them. http://www.scribd.com/doc/93249053/USPS-LiOn-Battery-Letter [scribd.com]

Re:Good job not reading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39969581)

Too many slashdot editors are lazy or dumb now days. It's sad.

It's not my fault! (5, Informative)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968229)

This is an issue with International Postal Union and aviation authorities:

MEDIA STATEMENT ON Outbound International Mailing of Lithium Batteries

REACTIVE ONLY — FOR IMMEDIATE USE

Until January 2013, the Postal Service will not be able to accept packages containing lithium batteries and electronic devices containing lithium batteries addressed to international destinations. This includes mail destined to, or from, APO (Army Post Office), FPO (Fleet Post Office) and DPO (Diplomatic Post Office) locations.

This change is required by the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the Universal Postal Union (UPU), both of which currently prohibit lithium batteries in mail shipments that are carried on international commercial air transportation.

So it is a) hopefully temporary b) because the hazardous little bombs are hazardous little bombs and c) everything is complicated these days.

So, just cram those AAA batteries into you iPhones and wait it out.

more Agenda 21 global "governance" NGO bureaucrap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39968657)

The first thing to do is to shoot all the lawyers...

Meanwhile a domestic shipper just sent to me, though the USPS's occasionally jam-prone high-speed sorting equipment, 6 bare CR2032's, taped to a single letter sheet in a 1st class envelope, with no other padding or protection other than the individual poly zip-locks they were in.

Common sense would go a long way here, folks.

Re:more Agenda 21 global "governance" NGO bureaucr (1)

mcavic (2007672) | more than 2 years ago | (#39969023)

Sounds like the CD I received in the mail once, in a plain envelope, with no jewel case, and no padding. More accurately, what I received was shards of a CD.

Re:more Agenda 21 global "governance" NGO bureaucr (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#39971971)

Sounds like the CD I received in the mail once, in a plain envelope, with no jewel case, and no padding. More accurately, what I received was shards of a CD.

In general, an unpadded CD should make to you unscathed through the USPS - I've received hundreds of Netflix DVD's through the mail in their plain paper envelopes. I've received a few scratched and unplayable disks, but not a single broken disk.

If a CD needed padding or a jewel case to prevent significant numbers of them from being damaged, Netflix would be using padded envelopes.

Re:more Agenda 21 global "governance" NGO bureaucr (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 2 years ago | (#39969941)

The sooting will almost surely not help, since ICAO rules are mainly created by engineers and pilots.

By what the GP quoted, the ban is there because USPS uses comercial passenger flights to transport their cargo, and ICAO won't allow one to transport things that may explode on passenger flights.

Re:more Agenda 21 global "governance" NGO bureaucr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39970781)

It was a tongue-in-cheek remark, but nevertheless, show me how a bunch of engineers and pilots can dictate USPS regulations without lawyers being involved somewhere, and I'll concede your point. And ICAO IS a UN sponsored org.

Re:more Agenda 21 global "governance" NGO bureaucr (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 2 years ago | (#39971605)

There will be lawyers at some point, but they won't be dictating the rules.

And ICAO IS a UN sponsored org

Of course. Why is that important?

Re:more Agenda 21 global "governance" NGO bureaucr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39971219)

Removing cheek more thoroughly, explosions per se is not the real problem here, although messy, and I suppose you could imagine circumstance where the meager release of a laptop battery could bomblike enough to cause serious damage in a strategically placed sparrow's fart sort of way. The real issue is the extreme reactivity of lithium metal, which is sufficient for self ignition in air, water, etc. Not sure how much unreacted Li there is in Li-ion batts, though. I'll defer to those who've studied the matter fully. It appears howver that current USPS seem to cover the hazard already. The ban seems to be just hoop-jumping CYA behavior on the part of USPS, and I'm wondering why. Seems like enforcement efforts might be a better step, esp. amidst all the security state hysteria.

Re:It's not my fault! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39970053)

It's nothing to do with the USPS at all; it's standard international dangerous goods regulations. Lithium-related batteries are considered hazardous and therefore have to be shipped in accordance with those regulations.

Canada will keep the USPS alive (5, Interesting)

i_ate_god (899684) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968233)

As long as our currency is on, near, or above par with the US dollar, most sensible canadians will order stuff from the US and use USPS to deliver it, since UPS and the like are really just crooked extortionists. How their extortionist techniques are legal, I just don't know.

Re:Canada will keep the USPS alive (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39968301)

As long as our currency is on, near, or above par with the US dollar, most sensible canadians will order stuff from the US and use USPS to deliver it, since UPS and the like are really just crooked extortionists. How their extortionist techniques are legal, I just don't know.

Amen to that !!!! And even worse then Rogers !!!

don't rogres then you can get us directv if you ar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39968365)

don't rogres then you can get us directv if you are willing to do it under the table.

Re:don't rogres then you can get us directv if you (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39968427)

Don't rogres? Don't he? He does!

Then you can get us directv! How will you get us it?

Under the table, I see. I prefer to watch TV from a a sofa, not under a table.

Your English, it is teh suck to the point nobody understands you. Please take some classes before you come back.

Re:don't rogres then you can get us directv if you (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968603)

Already enjoying some Canadian beer I see :-P

Re:Canada will keep the USPS alive (3, Informative)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968465)

As long as our currency is on, near, or above par with the US dollar, most sensible canadians will order stuff from the US and use USPS to deliver it, since UPS and the like are really just crooked extortionists. How their extortionist techniques are legal, I just don't know.

Yeah, USPS is probably one of the best shippers around - it's trackable through Canada (USPS stops at the border, but Canada Post tracks it through). It's also cheap. It will cost more to ship via USPS, but you don't pay UPS' extortionate fees to receive the package.

DHL is probably another good one - their fees are pretty reasonable (similar to Canada Post's), but very few American companies support DHL as a shipping option (probably because it sucked inside the US - despite being close or is the #1 worldwide carrier).

After that comes FedEx, because they do flat rate $25+taxes.

UPS - it's probably their cash cow - total bill can be anywhere from 30-200% of the item value. It's so bad that many US stores stopped shipping to Canada because people were refusing packages ($50 for a $40 item?) over the extortionate and gouging fees.

Now, there is ONE saving grace - there's something called "UPS Mail Innovations" that uses UPS within the US, who then hands it off to the local post office or USPS to carry across the border. Costs more than USPS and few know about it, but it's an option.

And it looks to be an ICAO rule, which means every country is affected (but only internationally - local laws can override ICAO if it stays in-country). Though, I suppose USPS just has to innovate and use ground crossings - fly it to the border gateway city, drive it across, and have Canada post continue with it. After all, the only time ICAO really applies is across countries (it's a set of de-facto rules). Though, nothing stops the US and Canada from forming an agreement to allow air transport across the border of batteries.

Re:Canada will keep the USPS alive (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968547)

You can track U.S. Post Office mail to Canada. It's called Global Express and lets you know when the item has been delivered. I started using that after a number of Canadians started claiming "I never got the item". Now that I use tracking, the complaints have disappeared. Hmmm.

You don't just "use tracking" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39970785)

You use a tracked shipping service. The people handling the package know that if it disappears at their station, the fact will be recognized.

The complaints may have disappeared because your customers can't plausibly claim that the item never arrived, or because the shippers can't steal it.

Re:You don't just "use tracking" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39971061)

The complaints may have disappeared because your customers can't plausibly claim that the item never arrived

This. My company ships thousands of packages each month via first class mail.. About 1% would claim the package never arrived.

One month, decided to run a test, by adding delivery confirmation to each package... ALL of the complaints disappeared.

The rate is now virtually 0.

And keep in mind... delivery confirmation is only scanned when it's delivered.. and in the beginning we didn't even email them the number. AND delivery confirmation does not add insurance -- so if the USPS lost/stole a package, they won't do anything about it (unless additional insurance was paid for).

You deal with enough people, and some % will be liars/thieves. Just the way it is.

Re:Canada will keep the USPS alive (4, Informative)

toastyman (23954) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968559)

DHL is probably another good one - their fees are pretty reasonable (similar to Canada Post's), but very few American companies support DHL as a shipping option (probably because it sucked inside the US - despite being close or is the #1 worldwide carrier).

DHL ended US-to-US delivery in 2009. They have a service where they'll use the USPS for local delivery, but it's expensive and slow. They also don't do pickup service (for any destination country) in many parts of the US now, so they've made it really hard for US companies to use them. Not all of it is their fault, but it's hard to use DHL if you're in the US now.

Re:Canada will keep the USPS alive (1)

madhi19 (1972884) | more than 2 years ago | (#39969173)

Actually Amazon.com via their Global service is using DHL to ship to Canada now instead of UPS.

Re:Canada will keep the USPS alive (1)

oh-dark-thirty (1648133) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970161)

>>And it looks to be an ICAO rule, which means every country is affected (but only internationally - local laws can override ICAO if it stays in-

I wonder what this will mean for things like Li-poly batteries used in R/C vehicles, etc that are often airmailed from China. Now they will have to go by boat?

Re:Canada will keep the USPS alive (1)

bosef1 (208943) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970251)

I've always preferred UPS for US-Canada shipping (small packages) because their fees are reasonable and they expedite clearing customs. With USPS, it seems like you can get: Global Priority, pay a ridiculous fee, but have the package arrive in a couple of days; or pay a reasonable fee regular parcel post, and have the package get held up for a week or two at the border.

Is there a trick or something I'm missing?

Re:Canada will keep the USPS alive (1)

SlippyToad (240532) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968519)

How their extortionist techniques are legal, I just don't know.

Republicans have made theft legal for their business buddies. It's axiomatic. It's widespread.

Re:Canada will keep the USPS alive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39968577)

Both parties do this. Democrats do it with favored businesses and they also do it with unions which are really just businesses that extort from employees. People keep thinking that being overpaid and getting fired after 3 years is a better deal than being paid fairly and keeping your job until you retire, and the union bosses keep collecting 6-figures.

Re:Canada will keep the USPS alive (2, Interesting)

SlippyToad (240532) | more than 2 years ago | (#39969797)

Both parties do this.

Umm, you are just wrong. The Republicans have been on a privatizing tear that has been well-publicized and nearly non-stop for decades now. Examples include Reagan turning our student loans over to third parties, which jacked up the costs of college (Obama ended this practice, btw). Rick Santorum proposing to end our national weather services' free information so that he could stick his (or his buddies') private company in that place instead. Florida governor Rick Scott foisting a mandatory drug test law on welfare recipient so that his company Solantic could cash in on the misery of the less fortunate, Arizona governor Jan Brewer's nasty anti-immigration law which was, as it turns out, funded at the behest of the private prison complex so they could put more bodies in beds on the taxpayer's dime. The examples of GOP leaders shit-canning a public industry, or deliberately creating a market to funnel taxpayer dollars to their private buddies, are FUCKING LEGION.

I know Democrats are occasionally found sticking their hands in the till. But it is almost universally a Republican issue.

As a post script, I'm pretty fucking sick of this "both sides do it, so we can't/shouldn't do anything about it" attitude. That is an utterly false dichotomy that is designed specifically to shut down debate.

So, bring your "Democratic" examples or shut the fuck up.

Re:Canada will keep the USPS alive (2)

aceboomblain (830620) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970293)

Um, how about using your favorite search engine to look for things like "wayne county corruption" or "detroit corruption". *All* of the involved in those cases are Democrats.

So get your head out of your ass - some (not all) people who achieve some level of power in politics tend to abuse that power. It doesn't matter what side of the aisle they sit on, but each of the SOBs should be tarred and feathered!

Re:Canada will keep the USPS alive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39972299)

Ditto, couldn't agree more. Now if you could only get the Republican mouthpieces to do the same!

Re:Canada will keep the USPS alive (1)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 2 years ago | (#39969147)

Please explain how UPS are extortionists.

Re:Canada will keep the USPS alive (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39970905)

When they arrive with the package at the Canadian destination, they don't just drop it off, they hold it hostage for a previously-unmentioned "brokerage fee", which is often more than the price of the item and the shipping combined.

They don't tell you about it before you order and pay for the item and the shipping. They just show up and, "Nice package we're supposed to deliver to you... be a shame if something happened to it. Seems like if I had a package like this coming to me, I'd pay plenty extra to the guy who brought it, to make sure it didn't disappear..."

In other news, DealExtreme goes bankrupt. (0)

lsllll (830002) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968235)

Oh wait, it's the other way around. Phew! I was scared there for a second. And, first post?

Consistent problem? Or paranoia? (2)

LehiNephi (695428) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968245)

I don't recall hearing much in the way of incidents involving lithium-containing batteries combusting during shipping. This leads me to wonder which of the following is going on. Is it:
1) A response to actual incidents?
2) An over-reaction to the potential of an accident, much like the no-electronic-gadgets rule on airplanes?
3) Something more sinister involving patents and/or protectionism?

Given the USPS's boneheaded management style (e.g. you still can't buy first-class postage on their site, only the much more expensive Priority and Express), I'm thinking option #2, but that's just speculation

Re:Consistent problem? Or paranoia? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39968671)

3) Something more sinister involving patents and/or protectionism?

The milk farmers know it.
Gibson Guitar knows it.
Cannibus Growers know it.
Your elected officials knew it.
The elite know it

The only people who are blind to it are the eco fascists
It's United Nations Agenda 21

It's the solution to public reaction by a problem which wasn't really a problem, they created themselves.
If it were a real problem, then they wouldn't be considering lifting the ban, why have the ban in the first place.
You know whatever the truth is it's being spun to cover for the operation. If they can keep an Olympic torch lit going around the world, these batteries are not a problem and they know it.

Re:Consistent problem? Or paranoia? (2)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 2 years ago | (#39969223)

It is not a UPS rule, it is an international civil aviation rule. No lithium batteries in mail shipments on international commercial flights.

an over-reaction? (2)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 2 years ago | (#39969279)

Just because you didn't hear of it doesn't mean it didn't happen.

Although official conclusions are not out yet, it is strongly believed that UPS Air flight 6 crashed due to a lithium battery fire.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UPS_Airlines_Flight_6 [wikipedia.org]

There are also other flights where lithium ion fires are suspected but not anywhere near conclusively proven, like Asiana Air 991 linked in that article.

Talk about paranoia. Why do people find it so hard to believe someone is doing their job instead of just being out to inconvenience them?

Re:Consistent problem? Or paranoia? (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970049)

3) Something more sinister involving patents and/or protectionism?

It is an ICAO rule. That means that a body of technical people, from dozens of different countries all agreed on that rule. Yeah, you won't find the proceeds published, as some members don't like that, but it is quite hard to get dozens of different countries to unanimously agree on some protectionist procedure.

Re:Consistent problem? Or paranoia? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#39971901)

You can buy First-Class postage on Paypal and print labels from there.

Package content descriptions (1)

The Mister Purple (2525152) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968405)

The article focuses on the shipment of items out of the U.S., but doesn't mention whether the same ban will apply to purchasing these items on eBay from overseas sources

I'm sure every eBay seller and buyer will notify the USPS of the exact contents of their border-crossing packages. And the USPS can tell if they don't. And the TSA is a worthwhile use of taxpayer dollars.

Not such a bad thing... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39968513)

If vendors have to airfreight electrically powered items without their batteries, this is a good thing.

Why?

Because it means the batteries will have to be shipped separately, which means:

they will need to be user-installable, which means:

they will be user replaceable.

No longer will you have to replace kit simply because the battery no longer recharges.

About that floundering financial situation (5, Interesting)

SlippyToad (240532) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968551)

. It seems like this would drive more business away from the already floundering USPS financial situation.

The USPS is struggling because they've been required by a vindictive right-wing to maintain an absurd 75-year pension plan commitment, basically they are being forced to fully fund pension plans for employees who haven't even been born yet.

If they were simply required to do business under the same rules as their competitors, they'd be kicking UPS' punk ass raw.

So, just for clarity let's make sure everyone understands that the USPS is being deliberately engineered to fail by the same vandals and saboteurs who are deliberately engineering our economy to fail.

Re:About that floundering financial situation (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39968643)

So, just for clarity let's make sure everyone understands that the USPS is being deliberately engineered to fail by the same vandals and saboteurs who are deliberately engineering our economy to fail.

Republicans run for office on a platform of the failure of government, then when elected, set about making it come true.

Re:About that floundering financial situation (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39968865)

Can someone explain to me why "vandals and saboteurs" are deliberately crashing the system?

I mean are these Chinese infiltrators or what? Otherwise I can't see a reason unless someone is making a profit (not sure what that has to do with pensions though).

Re:About that floundering financial situation (1)

Uberbah (647458) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968917)

Can someone explain to me why "vandals and saboteurs" are deliberately crashing the system?

So they can blame it on the guy who's in charge. Here's your sign....

Re:About that floundering financial situation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39969073)

They gain all the power and control of our resources. Think of it this way, you want control over a computer system you don't have control over. There is no mechanism to reboot or otherwise restart the system so you can access it at a root level. What do you do? Run exploit after exploit until the system becomes unstable and crashes. Now that you are at the BIOS screen, it's owned. You can do whatever you want.

Re:About that floundering financial situation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39971545)

Can someone explain to me why "vandals and saboteurs" are deliberately crashing the system?

I mean are these Chinese infiltrators or what? Otherwise I can't see a reason unless someone is making a profit (not sure what that has to do with pensions though).

Fred Smith, founder of FedEx, Cato Institute member, co-owner of the Washington Redskins NFL team, NASCAR sponsor, and a close personal friend and fomer DKE Fraternity brother of George W. Bush at Yale. Fred Smith was also George Bush's first choice for Secretary of Defense, but he declined for medical reasons and Donald Rumsfeld was appointed instead (citation [wikipedia.org] ).

Now if only we could figure out how FedEx would profit if the USPS were closed....

Re:About that floundering financial situation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39972643)

This is pretty simple. The big corporations want fewer regulations. By ensuring that everything regulation-related inevitably fails, they turn the populace away from regulations in general and achieve their goals.

Re:About that floundering financial situation (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 2 years ago | (#39969165)

The government refusing stamp increases because there was "zero inflation" also cost them billions of dollars

or (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 2 years ago | (#39969299)

allow the UPSP to be more like a bank ala European countries.

What? You think they would be more corrupt and incompetent than Wall Street bankers (that should be in freaking prison)?

Re:About that floundering financial situation (3, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 2 years ago | (#39969383)

So, just for clarity let's make sure everyone understands that the USPS is being deliberately engineered to fail by the same vandals and saboteurs who are deliberately engineering our economy to fail.

It passed a unanimous voice vote in the Senate.
Before that, it was also passed by voice vote in the House and the motion for a roll call vote was denied.
The law that created this fiasco was passed after midnight on the last legislative day of Congress.
Our lawmakers just wanted to get the hell out of there.

Re:About that floundering financial situation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39969499)

Bandits and saboteurs? Uncle Joe is that you?

Re:About that floundering financial situation (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970581)

. It seems like this would drive more business away from the already floundering USPS financial situation

....If they were simply required to do business under the same rules as their competitors

The United States Postal Service is not a business , therefore, it is not run like one. The United States Postal Service is the government. Even a bastard knows this.

The USPS is struggling because they've been required by a vindictive right-wing to maintain an absurd 75-year pension plan commitment,

My grandfather, a postmaster for decades and a life-long Democrat, was the Secretary-Treasurer of the National Association of Postmasters (NAPUS [tinyurl.com] ) from 1953 to 1971, and set up that pension plan. That is his baby.

basically they are being forced to fully fund pension plans for employees who haven't even been born yet.

That's brilliant, actually. If only Social Security worked this way, everyone under 45 wouldn't be fucked for retirement, and Social Security/Disability wouldn't be broke next year, which it will be.

Re:About that floundering financial situation (1)

baKanale (830108) | more than 2 years ago | (#39972323)

The USPS is struggling because they've been required by a vindictive right-wing to maintain an absurd 75-year pension plan commitment,

My grandfather, a postmaster for decades and a life-long Democrat, was the Secretary-Treasurer of the National Association of Postmasters (NAPUS) from 1953 to 1971, and set up that pension plan. That is his baby.

No, that's not what they're talking about. Please see the last section of the Changes under the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 [wikipedia.org] section of the article on the Postal Regulatory Commission (bolded emphasis added):

The PAEA stipulates that the USPS is to take any surplus at the end of a fiscal year, and put that amount into the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund to prepay for employees retirement costing the USPS a total of 500 billion dollars between 2007 and 2015. This requirement also explicitly stated the USPS it stop using its savings to reduce postal debt, which was stipulated in Postal Civil Service Retirement System Funding Reform Act of 2003. This is in addition to deductions from pay for federal contribution to social services . This pre-funding method is unique to the USPS. In June of 2011, the USPS had to suspend its weekly payment of 115 million into the fund because it had reached 8 billion dollars in debt and the retirement plan had a surplus of 6.9 billion dollars. The schedule rate of payment has been changed and the USPS is currently expected to make a payment of 5.6 billion no later than September 30, 2012.

So no, nobody is complaining about your grandfather's baby. We're complaining about the absurd stipulations [thinkprogress.org] from Congress that keep the USPS from using it's surpluses to pay off debt, ensuring they'll be constantly underwater, and confiscates that money to pre-pay, in less than a decade, the cost of retirements for the next 75 years. Most of that money will go to the retirements of employees who haven't even been born, and possibly even some of their parents. Of course, that assumes those employees will even exist, since there won't be any employees in 75 years if this onerous burden kills the Postal Service, an objective this legislation seems to be aiming for.

Re:About that floundering financial situation (1)

Mitreya (579078) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970667)

If they were simply required to do business under the same rules as their competitors, they'd be kicking UPS' punk ass raw.

There is more to this than just the pension plan issue
USPS is required to serve all areas uniformly (i.e. rural routes that are not worth it). UPS will simply not service sparse rural areas and compete only in the plentiful areas. You can't talk about "capitalist" competition when USPS is forced to serve certain places. Any regular corporation would scale back from lossy areas.
I guess my point is that they should be operated as a government service and not pretend that they are a regular company that can compete with others.

Re:About that floundering financial situation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39971995)

>USPS is being deliberately engineered to fail by the same vandals and saboteurs who are deliberately engineering our economy to fail.

Let's base that on fact shall we. Here's the risk assessment of lithium from the FAA.
http://www.faa.gov/other_visit/aviation_industry/airline_operators/airline_safety/safo/all_safos/media/2010/SAFO10017.pdf

Likelihood of incident? Probably low
Consequence of incident? Catastrophic
Risk rating? Just a conspiracy by unnamed group to bring down USPS

I'll leave it to the practitioners to assess the risk :)

Re:About that floundering financial situation (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#39972189)

No, that's not the reason.

The real reason is that the price of stamps is mandated by the government, and since the government is doing everything it can to pretend that the inflation is low, they won't allow USPS to raise the prices to be able to survive.

I don't know how to blame USPS... (1)

Lisias (447563) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968731)

... as it appears that, well, lithium batteries are in fact accidents waiting to happen.

The gadgets industry is to be blamed here. They own us safer batteries!

Worse threat than terrorism. (4, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968745)

  • Plane crashes caused by lithum batteries, last 10 years: 2.
  • Plane crashes caused by terrorism, last 10 years: 0.

And Fast Company is whining that the USPS is overreacting because they refuse to ship a product that randomly catches fire and blows up? And sets off other batteries in the same shipment?

The FAA has a whole site on aircraft fires. [faa.gov] All their lithium battery documents appear there. Here are the current US battery rules for air transportation [dot.gov] . Phone batteries usually aren't big enough to be a problem, but as battery sizes move up from "small" to "medium" (laptop batteries) the restrictions get tougher.

Re:Worse threat than terrorism. (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 2 years ago | (#39969059)

Phone batteries usually aren't big enough to be a problem, but as battery sizes move up from "small" to "medium" (laptop batteries) the restrictions get tougher.

Yes, but those were the old restrictions. The new restrictions are "No international shipments of primary or secondary lithium batteries. At all." A watch containing a lithium button cell is forbidden for international shipment under the new rules.

Re:Worse threat than terrorism. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39972331)

Very interesting read. Apparently you're supposed to put out small lithium fires with Halon (ok) and/or WATER, even though lithium metal burns in water. The theory is to contain the spread to adjacent cells/batteries by cooling them, even though water will react with the already molten, burning metal from the intial cell(s). I dunno, seems very dependant on circumstances to me. If the shipment has been packed properly.If you don't have anything else, like a large beaker of mineral oil and tongs handy, maybe. I'd hope for PLENTY of Halon.

Very interesting to note also that FAA, DOT, like the Post Office, also seem to have abdicated to the UN in testing this stuff, setting standards and regulations, and so on. Uh, what was all that tax money going for, again? To service the alleged debt to the owners of the Fed? What do we have a Congress for? What Agenda 21? Ha! Paranoid Conspiracy Theory! Obviously.

The real news here (3, Funny)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968977)

The real news here is that someone somewhere was apparently shipping products OUT of the united states.

Re:The real news here (1)

madhi19 (1972884) | more than 2 years ago | (#39969303)

The real news here is that someone somewhere was apparently shipping products OUT of the united states.

Mod this one up!!! lolll

Re:The real news here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39969419)

Are you really that stupid, or just trolling? The US exported $186B worth of goods in March. So, apparently there is plenty of stuff being shipped OUT of the United States. Just because you are too ignorant to know about it doesn't mean it isn't happening.

Re:The real news here (1)

NixieBunny (859050) | more than 2 years ago | (#39969731)

I mail Nixie watches out of the United States by USPS Priority mail, and I ship a lithium primary cell with each one.
I guess I won't be doing that any more.

Fishy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39969135)

What does a flat fish have to do wit the USPS financial situation??

Don't forget... (1)

satanclause (2626589) | more than 2 years ago | (#39969373)

The article referred to was written by a journalist. Journalists tend to know nothing at all about almost everything.

The USPS press release can be read here: Publication 52 Revision: Lithium Battery — Update [usps.com] .

In the intro it says:

Effective May 16, 2012, the Postal Service will revise Publication 52, Hazardous, Restricted, and Perishable Mail, to indicate that primary lithium metal or lithium alloy (nonrechargeable) cells and batteries, or secondary lithium-ion cells or batteries (rechargeable), are prohibited when mailed internationally or to and from an APO, FPO, or DPO location. However, this prohibition does not apply to lithium batteries authorized under 349.22 when mailed within the United States or its territories.
International standards have recently been the subject of discussion by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the Universal Postal Union (UPU), and the Postal Service anticipates that on January 1, 2013, customers will be able to mail specific quantities of lithium batteries internationally (including to and from an APO, FPO, or DPO location) when the batteries are properly installed in the personal electronic devices they are intended to operate. Until such time that a less restrictive policy can be implemented consistent with international standards, and in accordance with UPU Convention, lithium batteries are not permitted in international mail. The UPU Convention and regulations are consistent with the ICAO Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air (Technical Instructions). The Technical Instructions concerning the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Post do not permit “dangerous goods” as defined by the ICAO Technical Instructions in international mail. Currently, the only exceptions to this general prohibition relate to certain medical materials, infectious substances, and radioactive materials when they are treated in accordance with additional requirements listed in the Technical Instructions. Lithium metal or lithium alloy batteries and lithium-ion cells are listed in the Technical Instructions as Class 9 Miscellaneous Dangerous Goods. The prohibition on mailing lithium batteries and cells internationally also applies to mail sent by commercial air transportation to and from an APO, FPO, or DPO location.

So it's both primary and secondary cells which are banned – and the decision was forced on the USPS by the UPU and ICAO (the latter, presumably, because of the recent incident where a cargo plane fell out of the sky after a crate of lithium ion batteries caught fire at 35,000ft and couldn't be extinguished.)

The real problem here (2)

eclectro (227083) | more than 2 years ago | (#39969929)

Electronics that don't have battery compartments and no standards for rechargeable batteries that they contain.

Re:The real problem here (0)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39971007)

Which, of course, has absolutely nothing to do with the current problem.

Hint: All of you happy Android devices with their oh so standard batteries can be shipped with the batteries either. So you can have your nice electronic device shipped to you safely. Too bad you can't use it though because the battery had to be sent via camel.

Or do you really think the world would be better off if life consisted of D, C, AA and AAA cells?

Fisrt off (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970167)

read this:
http://about.usps.com/postal-bulletin/2012/pb22336/html/updt_004.htm [usps.com]

secondly note how this some how doesn't impact corporations.

I suspect this is implemented because the USPS doesn't operate it's own fleet of jets. They contract with commercial airlines. And sine lithium batteries have been the cause of two airline crashes, they don't want to rick killing 100's of people.

The USPS is not floundering (1)

KlomDark (6370) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970219)

It's all crap, a politically strategic move by the republicans in their unending attempts to allow their buddies to privatize each and every government function. They slammed thru a ridiculous edict forcing the USPS to PRE-FUND their retirement pool for almost a century called the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act [messagebase.net] — an incredible piece of ugliness requiring the agency to PRE-PAY the health care benefits not only of current employees, but also of all employees who'll retire during the next 75 years. Yes, that includes employees who're not yet born!

The more you know...

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