Last week, the U.S. Postal Service announced an upcoming ban that will restrict the shipment of iPads and Kindles to troops stationed overseas.
IPads and Kindles, along with a variety of other tablets, phones and electronic devices, run off of lithium-ion batteries, which according to the USPS, can explode if overcharged, improperly handled or poorly stored. If one of these devices were to explode, it would damage numerous others packed along with it.
The USPS plans to stop shipping all electronic devices powered by these batteries effective May 16. Until further notice, The USPS states, “customers may not tender electronic devices containing lithium batteries, including equipment with non-removable lithium batteries in Outbound International Mail.”
Examples of devices run on lithium-ion batteries include:
• Video cameras
• Walkie talkies
• GPS devices
• Radio controlled toys
• Cell phones
• Bluetooth headsets
• MP3 players
• Portable DVD players
While the USPS puts the ban on all Outbound International Mail, troops overseas will get the worst of it. IPad for Soldiers, a program that sends iPads overseas to armed forces, sent over 600 iPads in 2011.
While FedEx and UPS will still allow the shipment of lithium-ion products, their international shipping fees are higher than USPS. FedEx and UPS do not deliver to APO (Army Post Office) or FPO (Fleet Post Office) boxes, a widely used mailing address by troops, making it harder to get the package to troops directly.
The USPS tells customers “on January 1, 2013, customers will be able to mail specific quantities of lithium batteries internationally (including to and from an APO, FPO, or DPO location) when the batteries are properly installed in the personal electronic devices they are intended to operate.”