Every year in the United States, the accidental ingestion of button batteries impacts thousands of children as well as a growing number of senior citizens and family pets. These incidents contribute to approximately 4,000 emergency room visits annually.
Ingested batteries generate external electrolytic current and produce hydroxide ions which cause tissue damage. Additionally, the short circuit current in conductive bodily fluids damages the battery gasket, releasing toxic metals such as cadmium, lead, mercury and lithium. Once the batteries reach the stomach, corrosive and conductive gastrointestinal fluids further facilitate the release of the harmful battery contents, which poses both acute and long-term health risks associated with heavy metal ingestion.
The most severe damage occurs when the battery is lodged in the esophagus, resulting in tissue damage that may cause vocal cord paralysis, esophageal strictures, esophageal perforation, tracheoesophageal fistula, aortoesophageal fistula, or even death.
The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 and the Button Cell Battery Safety Act of 2011 were implemented to address this mounting health concern. Although some progress has been made by these safety regulations, improving the safety of batteries themselves has not been addressed. Hence, there is a need for a product that can circumvent the harmful consequences of ingesting button batteries.