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

Interpretation Response #17-0010 ([Baker & McKenzie LLP] [Ms. Jennifer Trock])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Baker & McKenzie LLP

Individual Name: Ms. Jennifer Trock

Location State: DC Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

June 29, 2017

Jennifer Trock
Baker & McKenzie LLP
815 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20006

Reference No. 17-0010

Dear Ms. Trock:

This letter is in response to your February 3, 2017, letter requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to exceptions for non-spillable batteries. You indicate the following information:

  • You are shipping by cargo aircraft a Cargo Filter System secured in a cargo container.
  • The Cargo Filter System is comprised of an air circulation device and a transportation data logger intended to ensure a clean environment for a piece of equipment also contained in a cargo container.
  • The air circulation device includes a small electric air pump, powered by a non-spillable battery.
  • The data logger is powered by two 9V dry cell batteries that are excepted from the regulations.
  • The Cargo Filter System is intended to be activated during transportation.
  • The Cargo Filter System contains no hazardous gas.

Specifically, you ask if the Cargo Filter System as described would be excepted from the HMR.

The answer is yes. Non-spillable batteries are excepted from the HMR in accordance with § 173.159a(d). To meet this exception, the non-spillable batteries must conform to the following:

1) Comply with § 173.159a(c);

2) At a temperature of 55 °C (131 °F), the battery must not contain any unabsorbed free-flowing liquid, and must be designed so that electrolyte will not flow from a ruptured or cracked case;

3) For transport by aircraft, when contained in a battery-powered device, equipment or vehicle must be prepared and packaged for transport in a manner to prevent unintentional activation in conformance with § 173.159(b)(2) of the HMR; and

4) For transport by aircraft, must be transported as cargo and may not be carried onboard an aircraft by passengers or crewmembers in carry-on baggage, checked baggage, or on their person unless specifically excepted by § 175.10.

Note that the third condition listed above, which is found in § 173.159a(d)(2), does not apply because the Cargo Filter System is intentionally activated during the course of transportation. However, the non-spillable battery must still be transported in a manner which protects against a fire, violent rupture, explosion, or dangerous evolution of heat. See § 173.159a(c)(1) regarding a battery necessary for operation of equipment. Additionally, as a piece of equipment intended to be operated during a flight, the Cargo Filter System must comply with Federal Aviation Administration requirements.

I hope this information is helpful. Please contact us if we can be of further assistance.



Dirk Der Kinderen
Chief, Standards Development Branch
Standards and Rulemaking Division

173.159a(d), 173.159a(c), 173.159(b)(2), 175.10, 173.159a(d)(2), 173.159a(c)(1)

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.159 Batteries, wet
175.10 Exceptions for passengers, crewmembers, and air operators