The House approved legislation that would prevent the U.S. from enacting a proposed rule limiting lithium-ion battery shipments by classifying the batteries as hazardous materials. The legislation addresses a rule proposed by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) along with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The PHMSA rule would cost companies including Apple an initial $1.3 billion to comply with new packaging, training and handling requirements designed to limit overheating and potential explosion of these batteries while in transit. This rule would apply to stand-alone batteries as well as those included in notebooks, mobile phones, and digital cameras.
All this discussion stems from both explosions and fires caused by poorly manufactured lithium-ion batteries in electronic devices. Apple experienced trouble in the past with the batteries in select iBook, PowerBook and MacBook Pro models. The battery problem was so pronounced in the PowerBook 5300 that it earned the nickname “Hindenbook”. Since those rocky years in the early 2000s, Apple has spent much time and money improving and standardizing lithium battery technology.