Safety tip: Lithium batteries (June 5, 2019 Hotline)

Safety tip: Lithium batteries

We are living in a world surrounded by electronic devices powered by rechargeable batteries. Cellphones, laptop computers, tablets and electronic cigarettes are some that come to mind. But there are many other devices that make use of lithium-ion batteries, including electric scooters, which are fast becoming more prevalent on college campuses across the country. Here are some tips to help avoid battery overheating, fires and other potential problems:

  • Only use devices tested by qualified labs.
  • Pay attention to the instructions from the manufacturer.
  • Use batteries made specifically for your device
  • Install the batteries immediately, do not leave them out.
  • Charge your device with the cord that came with it.
  • Do not put your device on your bed, couch or any surface that could possibly catch fire while it is charging.
  • Store batteries at room temperature and away from direct sunlight and anything flammable.
  • If your lithium-ion battery has any of the following issues, stop using it immediately, keep it away from flammable materials, and call 911 if there is an emergency: excessive overheating; strange odor; leaking; change in color or shape and strange noises.
  • Never throw lithium-ion batteries in the garbage can.
  • Place individual batteries in seperate, closed plastic bags.
  • Complete and tape a seperate NMSU Hazardous Waste/Material Tracking Form on each bag and circle “Toxic” at the top (if generated on campus).

Call NMSU Environmental Health Safety and Risk Management at 575-646-3327 for a free pickup. If generating numerous waste batteries, call EHS&RM for a site visit for additional guidance.

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