Fire chiefs in Scotland have issued a plea for responsible recycling after a lithium-ion battery was suspected of sparking a major blaze at a landfill site in Dunbar.
Fire fighters spent more than 40 hours battling the blaze in a Dunbar building where waste arriving on site is stored before it is landfilled.
More than 300 tonnes of refuse was set alight in last month’s fire— which at its height required 40 fire-fighters and six fire trucks.
Scottish recycling and renewable energy company Viridor said lithium-ion batteries were “the likely cause of the fire”, because they are increasingly found in a range of discarded products including toys, electric toothbrushes and e-cigarettes.
Scottish Fire and Rescue Service group manager Dean Mack urged the public to follow manufacturer’s instructions in disposing of “potentially volatile items such as electronics and batteries”.
According to UK trade body the Environmental Services Association, 25% of the 510 fires reported by its members in 2017-18 were attributed to lithium-ion batteries— an increase of 20% on the previous year.
Meanwhile, e-cigarette/vape device makers and their battery suppliers have come under fire from lawyers in the US following a fatality and a spate of injuries linked to “exploding” vaping devices.
Californian law firm Levin Simes Abrams said vaping devices typically contain lithium-ion batteries.
The law firm highlighted a number of cases including one last year, in which a man died after his vaping device reportedly exploded while he was sitting outside a vaping products shop.
Levin Simes Abrams said it is “accepting e-cig battery explosion lawsuits and will investigate claims of failed and faulty e-cig devices”.
According to the firm, e-cigarettes do not currently fall under the jurisdiction of the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission. “Underwriters Laboratories (UL) has developed standards that relate to lithium-ion battery safety. However, currently e-cigarette designs and products are not required to be subjected to product safety testing, even though most similar products undergo such testing,” the law firm said.
“Most 18650 batteries and other popular batteries are sold without the additional safety features added to the battery or battery pack that are typical of other consumer products, even those with considerably less power,” Levin Simes Abrams claimed.
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