The lead battery industry is aiming to reduce worker blood lead levels to below 20mcg/dL (microgrammes per deciliter).
Two trade associations, representing battery manufacturers in North America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East, have set the new target after completing a three-year voluntary programme to reduce levels to below 30mcg/dL.
As the lead industry begins its roll out of a new communications programme extolling the virtues of lead to the American public, it has emerged that Battery Council International executive director Mark Thorsby has written directly to President Trump informing him of how important the lead industry is to North America.
Thorsby’s letter emphasises how responsible the US lead industry’s manufacturing is, and dismissed lead’s polluting reputation as being “installed in an era when lead issues were not well understood”.
While such lobbying exercises are often regarded as ‘going through the motions’, could it be that Mr Thorsby has serendipitously started the process to bring lead industry jobs, including recycling, back to the USA?
The founder and chairman emeritus of lead-acid battery company East Penn Manufacturing, DeLight Breidegam Jr., has died.
The 88-year-old founded the company, alongside his father, in 1946 before building it into one of the world’s leading lead-acid battery manufacturers.
The business began after Breidegam left the US Air Force following World War II and began rebuilding old batteries in a one-room creamery in Bowers, Berks County.
An East Penn statement read: “He laid the foundational groundwork that has made East Penn the company that it is today.
"There's no doubt that he will be deeply missed, but his legacy continues to live on. In the areas we work, in the products we make, and the customers we serve, East Penn will continue to honor DeLight by being committed to his dream and inspired by his vision."
The death was announced in a statement released on September 9 by East Penn CEO Daniel R. Langdon. Details of his death have not been released.
Mark Thorsby, executive vice president of Battery Council International, said: “He was tough minded, warm hearted, and unknowingly self-effacing— a unique trifecta of character traits. There are literally tens of thousands of people who are better today because they knew DeLight.
“No one in the world had a greater impact on energy storage in the last half of the twentieth century than DeLight Breidegam."
He added: “On behalf of the worldwide energy storage and lead battery industry, I extend our deepest sympathy to his family.”
Services for Breidegam Jr will be held on September 20 in O'Pake Field House at Kutztown University.
Breidegam Jr’s death comes just 15 months after his daughter Sally Breidegam Miksiewicz, East Penn’s CEO, died after being hit by a truck on June 20.
Earlier this year Battery Council International announced the launch of the inaugural Sally Miksiewicz innovation award, which will be presented at the next BCI annual meeting in 2016.
A method for identifying recycled lithium-ion batteries must be introduced to stop fires and explosions at secondary lead smelters, Battery Council International members were told during its annual conference.
With more than 99% of lead-acid batteries recycled the danger comes when they are mixed with lithium-ion batteries and put through the plant’s crushers.
Well, BCI sure has gone digital— the only analogue service was Ann Noll and her ‘ring out your dead’ bell. I remember Michael Mayer of ELBC fame in a similar role but that’s another story.
Yeah the App did it for me. I knew when the coffee breaks were coming because I got a message. I knew about the schedule, all there on my phone. Next year there will no doubt be an ‘in-App’ dating module so you can hook up with locals who want to talk ‘dirty’ about batteries.
Will the BCI App tell me when it is game over?
Because for the first time at BCI’s annual bash, there was genuine fear about what I’ve been banging on about for years— the lithium threat. Just like the latest incarnation of Pan European fascism, lithium has got teeth to take the SLI Market. Li-ion can work in the SLI market because it can cold crank at -40Cº.
It was all that was needed. It must be my ancestry— you don’t wait for them to start building death camps before you take the first flight out of the country, you find out where they’re going to build them!
The lithium guys are more than hungry— they have the desperation of refugees and they will take any road to eat your lunch, it’s battery blitzkrieg. Yes, innovation is important. Disruptive marketing… yes I’ll buy that. But so is a healthy dose of paranoia. You need over-the-horizon radar to spot threats from a long way off. Complacency has been the lead industry’s stance for too long. Frankly, a PR and lobbying campaign at this stage is no more than Neville Chamberlain coming back from Munich with a piece of paper. You’re at war!
Lead-acid as smart? Please, I’ll buy value, budget and even green, but smart? No. It’s smart when I see a system, a package with control and installation and even finance all in place with a proper marketing strategy. And a planned fight-back. BCI is on the wrong continent for that but as David Cameron said: “we’re all in this together.” Are we? No. Check out some of the Generals. Churchill fired some of his. We need to do the same.
Should we apportion blame? Yes. You can’t stop progress but you shouldn’t make it easy for your competition. The lithium industry bought into a handy communication channel through to Brussels— Eurobat— who’ve pumped a steady stream of pre-digested information on batteries for the uninformed. You were warned. Others have been asleep on the job and failed to read the intelligence. Have you worked it out yet? Answers to Gerry@bestmag.co.uk. And work out a suitable punishment.