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Interpretation Response #15-0114 ([Dorsey & Whitney LLP] [Mr. Mark Kaster])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Dorsey & Whitney LLP

Individual Name: Mr. Mark Kaster

Location State: MN Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

August 21, 2015

Mr. Mark R. Kaster
Dorsey & Whitney LLP
50 South Sixth Street, Suite 1500
Minneapolis, MN 55402-1498

Ref. No. 15-0114

Dear Mr. Kaster:

This is in response to your June 5, 2015 letter in which you requested written clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR parts 171-180) concerning the exceptions for small lithium cells or batteries installed in a device.

In your letter, you provide information about a device, an installed lithium button cell battery and its packaging. The device contains one lithium metal button cell battery with a lithium content of 0.07 grams. The lithium button cell battery is of a type that meets the criteria in the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria Part III Sub Section 38.3. One device is packaged in a retail packaging, and there are no spare batteries in the packaging. Several retail packages are consolidated in an overpack and transported by ground or air. Alternatively, multiple overpacks are palletized and shrink-wrapped and transported by ground or air. Your questions are paraphrased and answered below.

Q1. Please confirm that a lithium button cell battery installed in the device as described above meets the exceptions contained in § 173.185(c) and no special marking is required on the package even when the individual packages are aggregated and shipped in an overpack or on a pallet.

A1. Your understanding is correct. In accordance with § 173.185(c), a package containing lithium metal cells or batteries (not exceeding 1 g for a lithium metal cell or 2 g for a lithium metal battery) contained in equipment in quantities less than 5 kg net weight per package is excepted from the requirement to mark the outer package to indicate it is forbidden aboard passenger aircraft. In addition, § 173.185(c)(3) excepts button cell batteries installed in equipment from the hazard communication requirements, including marking and documentation requirements prescribed in § 173.185(c)(3)(i) and (ii), respectively. Provided the retail packaging that contains the lithium metal button cell battery installed in the device meets the general packaging requirements for lithium batteries contained in equipment prescribed in § 173.185(b)(4), the package is not subject to marking or hazard communication requirements. This exception applies regardless of whether or not multiple packages are consolidated and shipped in an overpack.

Q2. Section 173.185(c)(4) prescribes additional requirements for smaller cells or batteries transported by air. You ask if a package containing lithium metal button cell batteries installed in equipment that otherwise meets the provisions for smaller cells and batteries in § 173.185(c)(3) is required to be marked with the lithium battery handling mark in § 173.185(c)(4)(i).

A2. The exception provided in § 173.185(c)(3) that excepts packages containing button cell batteries installed in equipment (including circuit boards), or no more than four lithium cells or two lithium batteries installed in the equipment, from the hazard communication requirements also applies to air transport. We intend to clarify in a future rulemaking that the handling mark in § 173.185(c)(4)(i) is not required on packages containing button cell batteries installed in equipment (including circuit boards) or no more than four lithium cells or two lithium batteries installed in equipment.

I trust this information is helpful. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

 

Duane Pfund
International Standards Coordinator
Standards and Rulemaking Division

 

173.185(c), 173.185(c)(3), 173.185(c)(3)(i) and (ii), 173.185(b)(4), 173.185(c)(4), 173.185(c)(4)(i)

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.185 Lithium cells and batteries