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Interpretation Response #08-0305 ([Elpro Services, Inc.] [Mr. Martin Peter])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Elpro Services, Inc.

Individual Name: Mr. Martin Peter

Country: CH

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

January 26, 2009


Mr. Martin Peter
Elpro Services, Inc.
Langaeulistrasse 62
9470 Buchs Switzerland

Ref. No.: 08-0305

Dear Mr. Peter:

This is in response to your letter dated December 11, 2008 concerning the applicability of the Hazardous Material Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) to small lithium metal batteries contained in equipment. Specifically, you request a letter confirming your conclusions that these devices meet the requirements of § 172.102(c), Special Provision (SP) 188.

In your letter, you described temperature monitoring devices that incorporate small, primary lithium batteries and provided information on each type of battery including lithium content and compliance with applicable regulatory standards. You indicated the devices are used to monitor temperature-sensitive products, many of which are pharmaceuticals. You described a typical device as containing one battery embedded into a monitoring device and sealed in a solid case. Each production lot of temperature monitoring devices is subjected to a drop test in all directions from a height of 1 meter onto a solid concrete floor. A temperature monitoring device may be attached to a pallet or package, placed inside a package, or built into a packaging.

You indicated there is some confusion as to whether temperature monitoring devices are acceptable for transportation on aircraft by the HMR. Lithium cells and batteries contained in equipment that meet the requirements of SP 188 are not subject to any other requirements of the HMR by any mode of transportation, including aircraft. A person who offers for transportation small lithium cells or batteries contained in equipment under SP 188 must ensure that the cells or batteries comply with each of the requirements of SP 188.

The requirements in SP 188 of the HMR applicable to small lithium cells and batteries contained in equipment are as follows:

(1) The lithium content is limited to 1 gram per cell or 2 grams per battery; (2) the equipment must contain no more than 5 kg (11 lbs) of batteries and contain no more than the maximum number of batteries necessary to power the piece of equipment; (3) effective October 1, 2009, each cell or battery must be of a type proven to meet the requirements of each test in the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria; and (4) the batteries and equipment containing the batteries must be packaged in a manner which precludes sparks or the evolution of a dangerous quantity of heat.

Under § 173.22 of the HMR, it is the shipper's responsibility to properly class a hazardous material. Such determinations are not required to be verified by this Office. However, based on the information included with your letter, it is the opinion of this Office that your product contains a single lithium metal battery containing less than 1.0 gram of lithium and the device is unlikely to generate sparks or a dangerous quantity of heat.

You should also note the Federal Aviation Administration may require evidence that this device will not cause interference with the navigation or communication system of the aircraft on which it is to be used. The documents attached are for your future reference regarding how the FAA handles devices/ batteries aboard aircraft.

I trust this satisfies your inquiry. If we can be of further assistance, please contact us.



Edward T. Mazzullo
Director, Office of Hazardous Materials Standards
Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

173.102, 173.22

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.185 Lithium cells and batteries
173.22 Shipper's responsibility