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CPSC Warns About Serious Injury and Death from Battery-Swallowing Incidents

On March 23, 2011, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission released a warning about the dangers of "button batteries".  According to the CPSC, the small, coin-sized batteries found in thousands of household products including children's toys.  Due to the increase in button battery use around the home, serious injuries and death related to accidentally swallowing of the batteries is also on the rise. 

The CPSC warning includes data from a recent study conducted by Dr. Toby Litovitz of the National Capital Poison Center.  The study found that button battery-related incidents resulting in severe injury and death have increased sevenfold since 1985.  Most of the reported incidents involve 20 mm diameter or larger, 3 volt batteries.  Swallowing the batteries can result in serious chemical burns when the batteries get lodged in the throat or intestine and release hydroxide. 

The CPSC is urging the electronics industry and battery manufacturers to develop warnings and industry standards to address this issue. 

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