> >Why does it matter who made the cell and the packaging? > >Why does it matter that all LiPo, Li-Ion, LiFePo4, NiCd, NiMh >can burst into fire due to manufacturers defects or >mishandling? >
It is exactly as complicated as I'm making it sound - if you are shipping just Li-Ion batteries without the electronics in the box, they are treated as explosives when entering the US and checked accordingly. If you're surprised, you don't know how dangerous the little buggers are. They are far and away more reactive than other types. Other examples of agencies that have had to put in restrictions due to past problems: OSHA requires that a bomb box and thermal monitoring at 100 times per second be used whenever working with the bare cells and solder or welding. This is not required with any other battery chemistry.
Unlike a Ni-MH fire, or a Ni-Cad fire, a Lithium fire, particularly with Li-Ion batteries, cannot be put out, it must burn itself to exhaustion, so if you get thermal runaway, you're toast. Cell phone and camera batteries may be small and relative annoyances, but the larger ones especially are a real problem. This is also why no Li-Ion cells can be carried in an airplane's hold when it is carrying passengers, they must be carry-on and even then only up to a certain size. Larger Li-Ion cells (including some high capacity laptop batteries) or larger concentrations of them must be carried aboard cargo aircraft without passengers aboard; that's right, the FAA has deemed them too dangerous to even be in an airplane's cargo hold with you on board (and, yes, the TSA will pull you off the plane if they detect Li-Ion cells in your luggage upon X-Ray inspection, I've seen them do it).
I carry Li-Ion cells with me all of the time, with my cell phones, laptop, cameras, and so on, but it doesn't mean that I'm unaware of their risks.
Now, back to cameras, some third party batteries are going to be okay, but you're rolling the dice with them, and hoping that their protection circuitry was programmed properly (it's individually programmed to each battery pack at the factory, and varies with the cells in the pack). At least if a Nikon battery burns up my Nikon camera, I'm covered.