The United States Postal Service or USPS will ban all international shipments of electronic devices with lithium batteries starting May 16. USPS has recently updated its policy, now planning to prohibit iPads, Kindles, smartphones, and other electronic devices using lithium batteries from being mailed overseas. The USPS says that the ban was made because of deliberations between the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the Universal Postal Union (UPU) – two international bodies which issue semi-binding guidelines for global trade. According to Fast Company, lithium batteries can explode or catch fire in certain conditions, and that has already been proven in at least two cargo plane crashes in the past.
USPS has listed common electronic devices that use lithium-ion batteries. Some of these devices include laptop computers, smartphones, tablets, cameras, mp3 players, Bluetooth headsets, GPS devices, portable DVD players and even radio-controlled toys. Among those who will be severely affected by USPS’s new policy are U.S. soldiers serving in other countries and who rely on USPS heavily. “It’s important to note that the restrictions does not imply to shipping lithium batteries domestically or to American residents receiving lithium batteries; the ban only applies to outbound lithium battery products shipped internationally,” Fast Company said. But the USPS said that it can change the ban next year in January. So, if you’re planning to send gadget gifts to your friends outside the U.S., now is the best time.