The US Postal Service has announced a ban on international shipments of devices that contain lithium-ion batteries, such as phones, tablets, cameras, and most other electronic equipment. USPS claims that lithium-ion batteries can catch fire or spontaneously combust if not fully charged or stored/packed incorrectly.
Two separate fatal cargo plane crashes since 2006 have been blamed on lithium-ion battery packages, according to FastCompany. The ban goes into effect May 16th.
According to CNET, those hit hardest by the ban are U.S. soldiers traveling abroad. Friends and family in the US were able to send packages to loved ones serving overseas for as little as $5 via USPS, and will now face charges upwards of $20 or more from competitors such as UPS, FedEx, and DHL. Further, USPS is the only company that can ship to Army Post Office and Fleet Post Office mailboxes, meaning that service members would need to use a private, civilian address in order to receive these packages.
The USPS is considering changing or lifting the ban altogether, but any changes to the policy won’t take effect until at least January 2013, leaving soldiers in the dark through the rest of 2012.
A full list of devices banned by USPS follows:
- Video cameras
- Walkie talkies (two-way radio)
- GPS devices
- Radio-controlled toys
- Cell phones
- MP3 players
- Bluetooth headsets
- Laptop computers
- Electronic shavers
- Power drills
- Portable DVD players
- Electronic measuring equipment