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US Postal Service Revises Standards for Hazardous Material

Posted on 7/29/2014 by James Griffin

On July 24, 2014, the United States Postal Service, in Postal Bulletin 22394, declared its intention to revise the Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) as part of an initiative to eliminate redundancy and streamline information. For lithium battery shippers, this revision is especially important: Under Section 662.52 of the DMM, the allowance for mailing laptops and other portable electronics powered by lithium-ion batteries through airmail has been restored. 
Hazmat shippers should note that Part 601 of the DMM Mailability, which covers hazardous, restricted, and perishable mail, has been heavily revised. New section 601.8 provides a high-level overview of hazardous, restricted, and perishable mail. For detailed instructions, USPS guides mailers to Publication 52 “Hazardous, Restricted, and Perishable Mail.”
Publication 52 was itself revised effective May 15, 2015 in Postal Bulletin 22389.
Hazardous mail is discussed in Chapter 3 of Publication 52. Section 332 summarizes the USPS’s standards on mailing hazardous material to “generally limit the mailing of hazardous materials to ORM-D (permitted for surface transportation only until January 1, 2021), and consumer commodity or mailable limited quantity materials as defined in Sections 332-336 that meet USPS quantity limitations and packaging requirements.”
The revised Chapter 3 of Publication 52 now incorporates the US DOT’s elimination of the ORM-D classification and streamlined provisions for consignments of hazmat packed in limited quantity.
This revision also restores one allowance that stirred some controversy last year. Per Section 662.52 of Publication 52, individuals can again send laptops and other portable electronic equipment powered by lithium-ion batteries through airmail and to overseas APOs, as long as they conform to applicable standards of the post office and 49 CFR.

Tags: hazmat, lithium batteries, shipping

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