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Interpretation Response #14-0207 ([Wiley Rein LLP] [Mr. George Kerchner])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Wiley Rein LLP

Individual Name: Mr. George Kerchner

Location State: DC Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

January 20, 2015

Mr. George Kerchner
Senior Regulatory Analyst
Wiley Rein LLP
1776 K Street NW
Washington, DC 20006

Reference No. 14-0207

Dear Mr. Kerchner:

This is in response to your October 20, 2014 email requesting confirmation of the requirements for shipping lithium metal batteries contained in equipment under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180), the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code, and the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air (ICAO TI).

Your email states your product consists of a water flow meter containing two lithium metal C cells with an aggregate lithium metal content of approximately 4.5 grams. The cell and battery designs have been tested in accordance with the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria. In addition, the battery has three levels of protection in the meter; (1) the lithium metal battery is sealed; (2) the battery is placed inside the meter, and (3) the meter is packaged in a customized engineered box or crate. Finally, the meter will be placed in a strong outer packaging, packed to prevent movement within the outer packaging and accidental activation of the equipment during transport.

Your questions are paraphrased and answered as follows:

Q1. Provided the packaging, marking, labeling and documentation requirements in § 173.185(b) or § 173.185(c) and all other applicable requirements of the HMR are met, may the flow meters described above be shipped by motor vehicle, aircraft and cargo vessel within the United States?

A1. Section 173.185(c) prescribes exceptions for smaller lithium cells or batteries subject to certain conditions. Paragraph (c)(1)(ii) provides that the lithium content may not exceed 1 g for a lithium metal cell or 2 g for a lithium metal battery. Paragraph (c)(1)(iv) provides that for transportation by highway or rail only, the lithium metal content of the cell and battery may be increased to 5 g for a lithium metal cell and 25 g for a lithium metal battery. Therefore, as the water flow meter you describe contains 4.5 grams aggregate lithium content, it would be fully regulated under the HMR as a Class 9 hazardous material when transport is by aircraft or vessel, but not when transport is by motor vehicle or rail. For transport by motor vehicle or rail, device containing 4.5 grams aggregate lithium content may be excepted from Class 9 requirements in accordance with the exceptions in § 173.185(c).

Q2. Provided the packaging requirements in Packing Instruction (PI) 970 of the ICAO TI and all other applicable marking, labeling and documentation requirements of the ICAO TI are met, may the flow meter described above be shipped internationally by air from the United States?

A2. Yes, the flow meter containing lithium metal cells or batteries may be transported to, from or within the United States in accordance with Section I of Packing Instruction 970 as a fully regulated Class 9 hazardous material, if all or part of the transportation is by aircraft. The device would not be eligible for the exceptions provided in Section II of PI 970 as the aggregate lithium content of 4.5 grams in the flow meters exceeds 1 g for a lithium metal cell or 2 g for a lithium metal battery.

Q3. Provided the packaging requirements in PI 903 of the IMDG Code and all other applicable marking, labeling and documentation requirements of the IMDG Code are met, may the flow meter as described above be shipped internationally by cargo vessel from the United States?

A3. Yes, the flow meter containing lithium metal cells or batteries may be transported to, from or within the United States in accordance with PI 903 of the IMDG Code, if all or part of the transportation is by vessel.

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

Sincerely,

 

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

173.185(c)

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.185 Lithium cells and batteries