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Australia to review the use of button batteries

Editorial Staff

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has established a Button Battery Taskforce to investigate ways to reduce risk to the Australian community, particularly children, of button batteries.

In Australia two children have died in the past six years after swallowing a button battery, and hundreds of children suspected of swallowing button
batteries have ended up in hospital casualty department, says the ACCC. At least 64 children have died globally.

Button batteries, also known as coin cell batteries, are flat, round, single cell batteries, used in personal and household products such as; children’s
toys, hearing aids, lights, watches, remote controls, digital thermometers and bathroom scales and computers.

“If a child swallows a button battery it can get stuck in their oesophagus or elsewhere in their system, causing death or serious illness,” ACCC
Deputy Chairman Delia Rickard said.

“Button batteries burn through soft tissue in as little as two hours and continue to pose a severe injury risk for children. It can be hard for doctors to identify the symptoms of battery button ingestion if the parent isn’t aware the child has swallowed one.”

“This new Button Battery Taskforce will consider what regulatory options could be introduced to improve the safety of both button battery and consumer
products that contain them,” Rickard said.

The ACCC has today released an issues paper for public consultation and is seeking feedback from stakeholders including consumers, retailers,
manufacturers and health practitioners on a range of issues and options.

Following a number of paediatric injuries from button battery ingestion, in March 2019, acting on the ACCC’s recommendation, the then Assistant
Treasurer, the Hon Stuart Robert, issued a Safety Warning Notice https://www.productsafety.gov....
on the dangers of button batteries.

Further reading: https://consultation.accc.gov....