BUTTON cell batteries power household, office, school, and personal products. Curious children, however, see them like yummy little candies or chocolates and may decide to pick them up and swallow them without warning.
Unfortunately, these button cell batteries pose choking and chemical risks that can endanger a child‘s health and life, the toxics waste watchdog EcoWaste Coalition (Ecowaste) said in a statement.
The ingestion of batteries is among the top 10 leading causes of poisoning among admitted pediatric patients in 2022, according to the National Poison Management and Control Center (NPMCC).
Button cell batteries are used in various products, including digital watches, games and toys, hair accessories, pocket calculators, remote controls, holiday decorations, hearing aids, and medical devices.
Ecowaste reminded the general public to keep button cell batteries out of children’s sight and reach to prevent them from accidentally putting these small round batteries in the mouth, as well as in the nose and ears.
The group learned about the sale of cheap “made in China” lithium button cell batteries whose packaging can easily be accessed by children. The batteries bearing the names Da Vinci, Huan Qiu, Robust, and TMI are sold in blister packs at Presyong Divisoria Stores in Makati and Manila Cities.
The group conducted the product monitoring on November 24 after the Government of France took measures against China-made button cell batteries that are not sold in child-resistant packaging and may therefore pose choking and chemical risks.
Like the button cell batteries recalled or banned in France, each blister pack consists of a cardboard back to which is glued a plastic front with blisters for the batteries.
As explained in the eight notifications published in the November 23 weekly report of Safety Gate, the European Union’s rapid alert system for dangerous non-food products, “the battery packaging can easily be opened, making the button batteries accessible.”
“A child could put the batteries in the mouth and choke or, if they are swallowed, suffer injuries to the digestive tract,” the notifications said.
The French government ordered the recall of non-compliant button cell batteries from end users and the removal of their product listings by the online marketplace to protect children’s health.
To prevent choking and chemical burns due to the ingestion of button cell batteries, the EcoWaste Coalition urged consumers, especially parents, to be mindful of the following poisoning prevention tips:
1. Carefully read the product label and follow the safety instructions on battery use, storage, and disposal.
2. Ensure that button batteries in children’s products and household items are duly secured with a screw.
3. Store button batteries in their original packaging or in a childproof container.
4. Ensure that button batteries, old or new, are kept out of children’s sight and reach.
5. Do not allow children to handle and install button batteries and never let them play with them.
6. Properly dispose of spent batteries and not simply burn or throw them in the trash.