When it comes to batteries behaving badly, its usually lithium-ion that gets the bad press. But a small event in a small American town shows that lead-acid can be just as dangerous.
18 workers at electronics manufacturer Cascade Systems in Hillsboro, Oregon, US, needed medical assistance after inhaling toxic fumes of overheated lead-acid batteries.
The batteries were placed on a time charger over the weekend, but the charger failed to shut off. This caused overheating and the batteries produced toxic gases, which Cascade Systems’s employees inhaled.
Firefighters from a fire station down the street had to bring the cart of lead-acids batteries outside to air out.
After “alarming” safety reports of lithium batteries, which can burn down homes, lead to plane crashes or exploding laptops in waiting halls, it’s interesting to note that the good old lead-acid battery shows its own health and safety risks and near misses don’t get reported so frequently.
Will the International Lead Association or Battery Council International act and publish safety guides for correct charging and handling of lead batteries like the FAA did a few weeks ago?