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Interpretation Response #14-0163 ([Dentons US LLP] [Mr. James W. Rubin])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Dentons US LLP

Individual Name: Mr. James W. Rubin

Location State: DC Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

January 14, 2015

Mr. James W. Rubin
Dentons US LLP
1301 K Street, NW
Suite 600, East Tower
Washington, DC 20005

Reference No. 14-0163

Dear Mr. Rubin:

This is in response to your August 19, 2014 letter requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to the shipment of used lithium batteries. Your questions are paraphrased as follows:

Q1)  Can used lithium batteries be shipped subject to the same regulatory requirements as new lithium batteries absent clear and manifest evidence of defect or damage?

A1)  Yes. The shipping and packaging requirements of § 173.185 do not differentiate between new or used lithium cells or batteries.

Q2)  Can shippers of used lithium batteries reasonably rely on the testing and certification of the manufacturer of the batteries and have no independent testing responsibility?

A2)  In accordance with §171.1(b)(11), each person who offers a hazardous material for transportation is responsible for certifying that the hazardous material is in proper condition for transportation and in conformance with the requirements of the HMR. The shipper may elect to rely on the testing and certification of the manufacturer.

Q3)  At what point does the condition of the used battery require further action by the shipper to determine whether the battery is defective or damaged and how would a shipper reasonably recognize such a condition exists?

A3)  As provided by § 173.185(f), a lithium cell or battery is considered to be damaged or defective if it is in such a condition that it has the potential of producing a dangerous evolution of heat, fire or short circuit while in transport.

I trust this information is helpful. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact this office.



Shane C. Kelley
Acting International Standards Coordinator
Standards and Rulemaking Division

173.185, 171.1(b)(11), 173.185(f)

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
171.1 Applicability of Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) to persons and functions
173.185 Lithium cells and batteries