USA Banner

Official US Government Icon

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure Site Icon

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Interpretation Response #06-0159 ([Matthews Associates, Incorporated] [Mr. David Hopkins])

Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Matthews Associates, Incorporated

Individual Name: Mr. David Hopkins

Location State: FL Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

Sep 11, 2006


Mr. David Hopkins                 Reference No. 06-0159
Vice President, Government Affairs
Matthews Associates, Incorporated
Battery Assemblers, Incorporated
220 Power Court
Sanford, FL 32771

Dear Mr. Hopkins:

This is in response to your July 10, 2006 letter regarding the applicability of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) to rescue radios and ancillary devices containing lithium manganese dioxide (LiMnO2) batteries.

According to your letter, your company manufactures LiMnO2 batteries for use in rescue radios and other ancillary devices. Each battery is made with twelve CR123 LiMnO2 cells each containing 0.5 grams of lithium in the anode with a solid cathode. The aggregate quantity of lithium in each battery is 6 grams. The battery is of a type proven to be non-dangerous by testing in accordance with the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria, Fourth revised edition, and the batteries are packed in such a way as to prevent short circuits under conditions normally encountered in transportation.

Generally, primary (non-rechargeable) lithium batteries and cells are forbidden for transport aboard passenger carrying aircraft to, from, or within the United States. However, as provided by § 175.10(a)(27), consumer electronic devices containing lithium cells or batteries and spare lithium cells or batteries for these devices, are permitted when carried by passengers or crew members in checked or carry-on bag for personal use. Each installed or spare battery must conform to the following: (1) the lithium content of the anode of each cell when fully charged, must not exceed 5 grams; and (2) the aggregate lithium content of the anodes of each battery, when fully charged must not exceed 25 grams.

For other than transportation by passenger aircraft, primary (non-rechargeable) lithium batteries and cells meeting the requirements of § 173.185(b) or (c) are not subject to the HMR. The outside of each package containing excepted primary lithium batteries or cells must be marked “PRIMARY LITHIUM BATTERIES-FORBIDEN FOR TRANSPORT ABOARD PASSENGER AIRCRAFT”.

The 2005-2006 Edition of the International Civil Aviation Organization Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air (ICAO Technical
Instructions) provide an exception for cells that contain 1 gram or less of lithium or lithium alloy and batteries that contain 2 grams or less of lithium or lithium alloy that are of the type proven to meet the requirements of each test in the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria, Part III, subsection 38.3. Since the aggregate quantity of lithium in each battery you describe is 6 grams, your device is regulated as a Class 9 material when transported as cargo onboard passenger and cargo aircraft in accordance with the ICAO Technical Instructions. Under the ICAO Technical Instructions, consumer electronic devices containing primary (non-rechargeable) lithium cells or batteries when carried by passengers or crew for personal use are permitted in checked or carry-on baggage. Spare batteries must be individually protected from short circuits and carried in carry-on baggage only. Additionally, spare primary (non-rechargeable) lithium metal or lithium alloy batteries are limited to not more than 2 grams of lithium content.

You may be interested to know that, in a notice of proposed rulemaking published under Docket HM-224C on April 2, 2002 (67 FR 15510), the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has proposed to eliminate the 25-gram exception for lithium batteries found under § 173.185(c)(2) of the HMR. Please refer to our website at http:/ under the Rules and Regulations icon, in the rulemaking and Federal Register Notices section.

I hope this information is helpful. Please contact us if you require additional assistance.



John A. Gale
Chief, Standards Development
Office of Hazardous Materials Standards

173.185, 175.10(a) (22)

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.185 Lithium cells and batteries
175.10 Exceptions for passengers, crewmembers, and air operators