Lithium-ion battery safety bill passes


Last week, Suffolk County Legis. Dominick Thorne (LD 7) was joined by fellow county officials and representatives of the fire, rescue and emergency services community to announce the passage of important safety legislation adding a certification requirement to the sale of potentially dangerous lithium-ion storage batteries for a wide variety of electric assist bicycles, powered mobility devices, and other battery-powered devices.

“Public safety remains my No. 1 priority and we are acting in the face of a clear danger before a single Suffolk County fatality has occurred as a result of potential lithium-ion tragedies—as they already have in the tri-state area,” said Thorne. “Just short of a year ago, many of the agencies represented here today began working with my office to create an action plan to deal with this threat.  Kudos to those organizations and the Fire Academy for creating important training programs and preparing to educate the public on the dangers, particularly of uncertified lithium-ion batteries and their recharging and storage procedures. I am proud that we in the legislature, along with Suffolk County executive Ed Romaine, are taking steps to protect our 1.5 million residents before a single related death occurs in our county.”

Resolution 1230 also provides authorization for comprehensive enforcement by the Suffolk County Fire Marshal, the Suffolk County Police Department, town and village police departments, or local code enforcement officers.

Suffolk County executive Ed Romaine also supports the effort and has promised to sign the bill into law immediately after its upcoming public hearing.

“I applaud Legis. Thorne for his foresight in introducing this legislation. As a longtime first responder, he understands the potential dangers to the men and women of our local EMS and fire departments and most especially the community,” said Romaine. “I look forward to signing this measure into law as soon as it hits my desk.”

IR 1230 was passed unanimously by the Suffolk County Legislature at its General Meeting in Hauppauge on Tuesday, June 4.


Back in 2005-2006, many laptop and notebook computers were recalled due to safety issues with rechargeable battery packs, many of which were lithium/nickel battery packs. Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) developed UL 1642 as a basic battery standard but eventually became a portable lithium cell standard.

UL1642 certification requirements cover rechargeable lithium-ion batteries for use as a power supply in the products. These lithium-ion batteries contain metallic lithium, a lithium alloy. They may consist of a single electrochemical cell or two or more cells connected in parallels or series, or both, that convert chemical energy into electrical energy by an irreversible or reversible chemical reaction (Per

With the advent of electric vehicle (EV) applications and larger batteries in motor vehicles, wheelchairs, and e-bikes, UL developed UL 2271 which addresses light electric vehicle batteries. More recently, municipalities have been faced with protective storage facilities to house larger EV batteries for electric cars, and more.

Experts report that testing is required in as much as any battery can explode if not properly protected from a short-circuit condition, and these batteries may also produce a shock hazard. Based upon the type of battery, its end use, and its environment, there are several Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Standards that may be required. Safety Marks—e.g., UL, TUV, CSA, VDE, and ETL) ensure that batteries were certified and tested to a specific safety standard. For instance, a relevant Standard from UL and the International Electronic Commission (IEC)—UL/IEC 62133—was issued in 2013 and updated in 2017.

One particular danger arises from over-charging rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries for longer periods than detailed in the product specification sheets. The resulting heat can lead to unsafe conditions and fires.


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