The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is warning people not to buy or use a type of vape battery that carries the risk of causing fires and explosions. Warnings have been issued over individual 18650 lithium-ion battery cells without protection circuits. According to a news report, the CPSC says it is working with e-commerce sites like eBay to remove listings of these batteries, which are used in vapes, e-cigarettes, flashlights, and even some toys.
Dangerous Vape Batteries
The agency warned that the battery cells might have exposed metal positive and negative terminals that can short-circuit when they come into contact with metal objects such as keys or loose change in a person’s pocket. Once shorted, loose cells can overheat and experience what is known as “thermal runway,” igniting the cell’s internal materials and forcibly expelling burning contents. This could result in fires, explosions, serious injuries, and even death, the CPSC stated.
Injuries relating to exploding vape batteries have been documented for a while now, but the frequency of explosions, fires, and injuries appears to have increased along with their availability on sites such as Amazon and wholesale retailers. LG Chem, which is one of the companies making these 18650 battery cells, asked distributors of e-cigarette equipment in a late 2018 letter to stop selling them with the warning that individual consumer use and handling could lead to severe burns and disfigurement. Samsung and Sony have also warned consumers against using these batteries.
This warning only applies to 18650 batteries that don’t have protection circuits. This is not the first time CPSC has talked about battery technology. When hoverboards were exploding and bursting into flames the agency demanded that manufacturers recall their unsafe products and threatened to seize ones that were non-compliant at the border. The agency was also in charge of investigating when Samsung Note 7 models started catching on fire. In that case, Samsung issued a recall even before CPSC could force them to do so.
Product Liability Issues
Our product defect lawyers are representing injured victims of lithium-ion battery fires and explosions including those who have been seriously injured and disfigured by explosions and burns related to e-cigarette and vape batteries, hoverboard fires, and other fires involving batteries, cellphones, etc. If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective product, you may be able to seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, cost of rehabilitation, permanent injuries, disabilities, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. An experienced product defect lawyer can help you better understand your legal rights and options.