The House of Representatives has passed legislation that prevents the United States government from implementing more stringent rules classifying lithium batteries as a hazardous material.

That doesn’t mean the batteries lack hazards. The move is based on lobbying and financial interests, rather than environmental or safety concerns, says “PC World” (http://macte.ch/o6HRJ).

A “Bloomberg” report (http://macte.ch/UiWLDl) says that the Department of Transportation, with the backing of pilot unions and congressional Democrats, proposed new restrictions on air shipments of lithium batteries based on concerns that the batteries could overheat and ignite. Apple, Panasonic, Samsung and other companies could save US$1.13 billion under U.S. legislation barring limits on air shipments of lithium batteries that go beyond international standards, says “Bloomberg.”

The legislation, approved by the House legislation April 1, prevents President Barack Obama‚Äôs administration from enacting a proposed rule that treats billions of batteries shipped or packed into laptop computers, cellular phones and digital cameras as hazardous materials. The rule would trigger packaging, training and handling requirements for manufacturers, retailers and airlines, notes “Bloomberg.”