Lithium-Ion battery fires MGN 681

Are lithium battery fires toxic?

Yes, lithium battery fires are highly toxic.

When a lithium battery goes into thermal runaway, it releases a variety of hazardous substances. The combustion of lithium batteries can produce toxic gases such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and various volatile organic compounds. Most importantly, these fires can release hydrogen fluoride, which is highly corrosive and toxic, as well as other fluorinated compounds that are harmful when inhaled.

The smoke from burning lithium batteries contains fine particulate matter that can cause respiratory issues and other health problems. The presence of heavy metals, such as cobalt, nickel, and manganese in the batteries, can lead to the emission of toxic metal fumes during combustion, which pose significant health risks if inhaled.

In addition to the immediate toxic effects of the gases and particulates, the wider impact of lithium battery fires is also concerning. The release of these substances can contaminate the local area or potentially the entire vessel through the ventilation system, leading to serious clean up issues.

Proper handling, charging & storage of lithium batteries are essential to mitigate the risks associated with their potential for fire and the subsequent release of toxic substances.

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