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Lithium Batteries can cause Fires
Lithium Batteries can cause Fires
So, I was prompted to write this particular blog post because I was alerted to a warning sign on my new “power strimmer box”. Perhaps I appear to be an alarmist. However, I decided to delve into this a little bit more.
As a traditional seller of lead-acid batteries, the only problem we ever get is a slight leak of battery acid. Usually due to careless courier drivers.
I have never experienced a lead-acid battery catching fire. So this warning sign gave me enough concern to do an investigation. The “Ryobi” strimmer box came up with a large warning sign,” saying UN3481. So when looking this up, I discovered it was a hazard warning for lithium batteries.
Lithium batteries can cause fires!
I do know that lithium batteries have some special scrapping treatment at the end of their lives. Lithium-ion batteries should not be in your local household rubbish or recycling bins and require special handling. I noted that the old battery should have the battery terminals taped with insulation tape and the whole battery placed in a separate plastic bin or bag.
The lithium-ion battery should then be taken to a hazardous waste recycling centre.
To prevent fires, tape battery terminals and/or place lithium-ion batteries in separate plastic bags. I must admit that the new surge in using these batteries in power tools does concern me. Consumers are not aware of the hazards that these products could bring!
Rechargeable lithium-polymer cells (Li-ion, Li-ion cells)
Lithium are the type of batteries that are becoming more used. Especially in many of the garden and power tools that are sold today. Importantly, things that have re-chargeable batteries. Like power tools, garden tools suck as my hedge strimmers, digital cameras, some children’s toys and E-Bicycle’s.
Consequently, there a many appliances large and small. That contain these lithium-Ion batteries. So, if you have such a devise and it comes to the end of its life. Then you should take extra precautions for safety sake.
Firstly you should try to find a registered lithium-Ion battery recycling company. Secondly if not then you should contact your local council. Hence, to see if they are implementing an hazardous waste collection or disposal service.
In my opinion consumer have little knowledge about these possible dangerous batteries. Consumer awareness, as far as I am concerned, is negligible. Warnings on these product boxes should be more visible so that consumers are aware of the problem.
Chinese Ship Catches Fire! Lithium Batteries can cause Fires
Indeed, according to “World Maritime News,” there was a fire on one of Cosco Pacific’s giant container ships in 2020. So, this was found to be caused by the spontaneous combustion of lithium-ion batteries.
The battery containers were not correctly marked as hazardous and dangerous goods. Therefore, the lithium batteries were not properly declared and stored in the correct manner to avoid a fire hazard. I am convinced that this is just a story that got out. Many of the fires caused by lithium batteries are kept under wraps.
So, if you buy a garden tool with one of these lithium batteries fitted, look for the hazard warning signs on the box. I am sure that if handled and charged correctly, these batteries should be safe. However, lithium batteries do cause fires. Hence, lithium batteries should be handled correctly and, more importantly, disposed of correctly.
Finally, look for the UN3481 warning and read about it. Another great informative link is to the EPA.gov web site.