Confused about how to ship your batteries?
By Melissa Iozzo, Technical Specialist
The U.S Department of Transportation, Pipeline and hazardous materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) released a new interpretation on November 30th, 2009, pertaining to new regulations surrounding the shipment, storage, and collection of dry cell batteries.
Previous letters regarding this topic were in response to the public’s comments, and confusion regarding the shipment of all batteries for road transport. It was originally released that all batteries needed to be packaged for shipment in a way to prevent shorting, or touching of terminal ends to prevent heat generation, sparking, fire, or risk of explosion (i.e. taping terminal ends, or bagging batteries separately).
The PHMSA had originally stated that dry cell alkaline batteries were exempt from hazardous materials regulations (HMR) because they would not pose enough risk to produce a short when packaged together.
The new November 30th interpretation states that all dry cell batteries (those include alkaline, nickel metal hydride, mercury oxide, silver oxide, etc) under 9v are not likely to generate heat, or cause a spark during transport, and therefore when shipped under the specified shipping name; Batteries, Dry, Sealed, are also exempt from HMR. In other words, these smaller dry batteries are not subject to special provision 130 – and precautions do not need to be taken in order to prevent touching of terminals during transport.
It is important to remember that this does not apply to wet batteries, waste damaged batteries, or batteries that have been reconditioned. Equally important is to note again, that this only applies to batteries that are 9v and under; for example, most of your NiCad power tool batteries are over this size. For further information the letter or interpretation can be found here.
Always keep safety in mind before shipping any of these materials – and if you aren’t sure, check first.