Duracell batteries are well-made. But they are still batteries. And like every other battery, they are susceptible to faults and defects. As such, you can’t rule out the possibility of leaks, fires, and even explosions. The key is to take precautions that make those outcomes less likely.
People typically blame fires and explosions on factory defects. They don’t realize that human error can also cause those adverse outcomes.
Battery Safety Precautions And Guidelines For Handling Batteries Properly
Batteries are sealed metal containers that can generate toxic gases. In other words, you shouldn’t be surprised when an explosion occurs. As a consumer, manufacturers expect you to handle their products carefully to reduce the likelihood of an explosion. That means applying the following precautions:
- Don’t bring batteries into contact with metallic tools and objects. This creates a short circuit that boils the electrolyte and releases toxic gases.
- With powerful batteries, you shouldn’t touch both terminals simultaneously with a conductive element. The current will flow through that medium. This can lead to electrocution if that medium is a person. But again, this concern only matters to individuals with powerful batteries that present severe shock hazards.
- Check the battery for defects before buying or using it. Do you see dents or tears? Have you noticed any questionable smells? Don’t use deformed, damaged, or leaking batteries.
- Additionally, you should wear protective equipment before handling damaged batteries, especially if the battery in question is hot to the touch.
- Don’t mix new and old batteries.
- Don’t mix different battery types.
- Don’t recharge disposable batteries.
- Keep batteries in places where children cannot reach them. This is particularly true for small coin batteries they can easily swallow.
- Don’t throw batteries in your home’s trash unless the manual says they are safe enough to tolerate conventional disposal.
- Insert the batteries correctly. Pay attention to the polarity.
The Potential Hazards of Mishandling Batteries
- Batteries have corrosive agents that leak when you mishandle them. Consumer Reports has highlighted Potassium Hydroxide as one such caustic agent that irritates the skin and eyes.
- Batteries can emit toxic gases.
- Batteries can start fires.
- Batteries can explode
The Factors That Could Lead To Battery Explosions In Rare Cases
Duracell admits that its batteries become warm as they charge. This is normal. It isn’t a sign of a battery on the verge of exploding. When batteries explode, one or more of the following is usually to blame:
- You can never rule out factory defects. Some batteries explode before you remove them from their packaging because the manufacturer made a mistake.
- You can overwhelm a battery by flooding it with more current than it can handle. The battery eventually releases hydrogen gas, rupturing the sheath once the pressure builds.
- You got the orientation wrong while inserting the batteries.
- You exposed the batteries, device, or charger to high temperatures.
- You tried to charge a non-rechargeable battery.
- You exposed the batteries to a fire.
Battery Explosions Are Rare Occurrences
If batteries explode all the time, why are consumers and regulators seemingly unconcerned? Batteries explode all the time because many people mishandle them. Sometimes, this is intentional.
YouTube has numerous videos in which people deliberately expose batteries to strenuous conditions to make them explode. Cases of batteries exploding on their own without the consumer playing a role are incredibly rare.
According to NPR, only one in every ten million lithium-ion batteries fail to the point of exploding or starting a fire. The International Association of Fire And Rescue Services in Vancouver expects battery-related fires to grow because the number of appliances that use batteries has increased drastically over the years.
The more batteries you have in households, the higher the risk of fires and explosions. Additionally, you can’t ignore the rising volume of fake low-quality batteries on the market. However, for now, don’t expect your Duracell battery to explode unless you do everything Duracell told you not to do.
Reported Incidents Of Duracell Battery Explosions
Incidents of Duracell battery explosions are not difficult to come by. 13 WTHR published an article in 2011 detailing the ordeal of a YouTuber whose Duracell batteries exploded in his hand. They also quoted a Duracell spokesman (Kurt Iverson) who admitted that Duracell battery explosions can happen, although they are rare.
What Are The Responses From Duracell For Battery Explosion?
Duracell is not blind to the fact that explosions happen. In this Duracell Material Safety Data sheet, they clearly state (Emergency Overview section) that their batteries can leak or explode, causing burn injuries.
You will receive replacement coupons after contacting Duracell and telling them that batteries started leaking before their expiration date, proving that Duracell is aware of these occurrences and doesn’t mind compensating disgruntled customers.
You can check this Better Business Bureau page for complaints related to Duracell batteries.
Role Of User Error Or Mishandling In Battery-Related Incidents
Duracell batteries are not immune to defects. In fact, a damaged battery will leak to prevent ruptures from the pressure building internally. Manufacturers include these safety mechanisms because they know things can go wrong.
However, consumers can exacerbate a battery’s weaknesses by adopting unhealthy habits. That includes overcharging the battery and exposing it to extreme temperatures. Duracell won’t compensate you if a battery raptures because of poor handling and storage.
Guidance On proper Battery Usage And Storage To Prevent Accidents
- Keep the batteries in a cool, dry, well-ventilated location.
- Keep the batteries away from ignition sources.
- Follow the instructions when inserting the batteries. The polarity matters.
- Don’t bring the batteries into contact with conductive materials.
- Use the recommended charger. The voltage should match.
- Don’t overcharge the batteries.
- You should only charge rechargeable batteries.
- Buy genuine batteries from a reputable source.
What Kind Of Response Or Support Should You Expect From Duracell?
Like every company, Duracell will initiate recalls if it becomes aware of a defect. For instance, The Los Angeles Times reported a recall of two Duracell lithium camera batteries (DL123A and DL223A) in 1989.
More recently, they recalled the Duracell Powerpack Pro 1300. The recall affected purchases made between March 1 and June 15, 2022.
How Customers Can Reach Out To Duracell’s Customer Support For Assistance?
- When Duracell initiates a recall, their press release will include the contact details you can use if you have questions.
- If you have a complaint, visit Duracell’s official website. The platform has phone numbers and email addresses that customers can use to ask for assistance. This contact information may vary depending on your location. For instance, Duracell’s UK website will show UK numbers, not American numbers.
Safety Standards That Battery Manufacturers Like Duracell Adhere To
This Duracell Article Information Sheet lists the battery standards the company follows while designing and manufacturing its products:
- ANSI Z-400.1 – Concerned with the preparation of material safety data sheets for hazardous industrial chemicals.
- GHS – The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe calls this a harmonized approach for classifying and labeling chemicals.
- JAMP AIS – The American National Standards Institute calls this a standard that governs the transmission of information on the chemical makeup of chemical products.
- ANSI C18.4M – According to the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, this standard deals with the impact of a battery (manufacture, distribution, use, disposal) on the environment.
- IEC 62474 – The International Electrotechnical Commission calls this a standard that governs the exchange of material composition data and material declarations
Assurances That Batteries Undergo Rigorous Testing To Ensure Safety Compliance
Duracell meets and exceeds ISO 9000 standards (International standards concerned with quality assurance).
What To Do In The Unlikely Event Of A Battery-Related Incident?
- Throw the leaking or exploded battery away.
- If a leak or explosion occurs inside a device, such as a mouse, clean the battery slot before it corrodes the terminals.
- Don’t forget to wear gloves and safety goggles.
- The New York Times recommends cotton swabs, white vinegar, lemon juice, or rubbing alcohol.
- If the battery starts a fire, use an appropriate extinguishing agent.
First Aid Measures In Case Of Exposure To Battery Chemicals Or A Leaking Battery
- Healthline recommends removing clothing and jewelry from the target area and flushing it with lukewarm water for half an hour. This applies to alkaline battery acid.
- Rinsing with water will make burns from lead battery acid worse. Wash the area with soap and warm water.
- If acid touches your eye, rinse it for thirty minutes with running water.
- If you inhale toxic fumes, go to a place with fresh air. Seek medical attention if respiratory irritation persists.
- If you swallow the battery’s contents, rinse your mouth for fifteen minutes before seeking medical attention.
The Proper Disposal Of Used Batteries To Minimize Environmental Risks
- Batteries are a danger to the environment. They corrode, releasing chemicals into the soil and tainting groundwater.
- You may kill thousands of plants and animals by disposing of your batteries carelessly.
- Nickel Cadmium has cadmium that harms human, animal, and aquatic life. It can lead to cancer when you inhale the fumes.
- Lead components from a battery can contaminate water supplies once they escape.
- Waste disposal personnel may come into contact with the sulfuric acid in a battery’s electrolyte while sorting through your trash.
- Simply put, apply caution when disposing of damaged batteries.
Rather than throwing batteries in the trash, recycle them. Access the call2recycle website and look for their collection centers in your location. Do the same for Duracell. Their website will tell you whether the company has partnered with any business in your area to provide recycling services.
If all else fails, return old and exploded batteries to the retailer. Let them solve the recycling problem.