The Federal Aviation Administration is pushing for a worldwide ban on laptops and other large electronic devices in checked baggage on international flights, due to the potential for a fire and explosion.
In a paper filed recently with the United Nations, the FAA cites a concern with the rechargeable lithium-ion battery used in laptops, saying if it overheats in close quarters with an aerosol spray can, an explosion can occur.
The International Civil Aviation Organization, a U.N. agency, will consider the proposed ban next week during a panel on dangerous goods, which is being held in Montreal.
The FAA conducted 10 tests with a charged laptop battery being placed next to a heater. In one of the tests, an aerosol can was attached to the battery, causing a rapidly growing fire resulting in an explosion 40 seconds later.
The explosion could obliterate the fire suppression system installed on the plane, creating the possibility of complete destruction of the aircraft.
The FAA has not said if it plans to extend the proposed ban to domestic flights as well.