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Lithium Batteries and Environmental, Health and Safety Resources to Mitigate Fire Risks

Clark Seif Clark provides industrial hygiene and environmental testing, consulting and training services to identify and mitigate exposure risks to protect workers and building occupants from a wide range of hazards.

Chatsworth, CA – WEBWIRE

When lithium batteries fail to operate safely or become damaged, they can present a fire hazard, an internal pressure explosion hazard, a toxic gas emission hazard and/or a flammable gas emission hazard.

Lithium batteries are everywhere. They can be found in mobile phones, e-cigarettes, cordless tools, laptop computers and tablets, UPS systems, e-bikes and scooters, electric cars, buildings to supplement the power grid, and much more. These power-packed energy storage devices allow for mobility like never before.

The benefits of lithium batteries include their small footprint and other characteristics making them long lasting, fast charging, powerful, generally stable and relatively light. But, there is a dark side to batteries, and in particular to lithium batteries. They can burn, go into thermal runaway, and they can be difficult or impossible to extinguish.

“OSHA reports that lithium batteries are generally safe and unlikely to fail, but only so long as there are no defects and the batteries are not damaged,” said Derrick A. Denis, Vice President of Indoor Environmental Quality for Clark Seif Clark (CSC). “When lithium batteries fail to operate safely or become damaged, they can present a fire hazard, an internal pressure explosion hazard, a toxic gas emission hazard and/or a flammable gas emission hazard. For example, just a few months ago, a fire caused by a lithium ion battery resulted in a 3–alarm fire in a high-rise that injured at least 38 people according to the New York City Fire Department.”

In addition to the dangers that heat and explosions present, there are also environmental issues to consider. These include, but are not limited to, exposure to hydrogen fluoride, hydrogen cyanide, hydrogen gas and metal particulates (like nickel, cobalt, manganese, lithium, iron, etc.). Without specialized knowledge and equipment to measure and/or laboratory access to sample byproducts of lithium battery fires, it is impossible to effectively protect human health and safety.

Fortunately, mitigation strategies are available to help prevent injuries and thermal events associated with batteries. Partnering with experienced environmental, health and safety (EHS) professionals, and local fire departments, can go a long way towards protecting people and property. CSC’s lithium battery fire response and recovery experience is vast. It includes small appliance fires in homes, electric mobility factory fires, office fires, battery repurposing facility fires, large power grid-supplementing battery banks fires and more. CSC also recently sponsored an educational video about lithium batteries and EHS concerns that can be seen at:

To learn more about lithium batteries or other industrial hygiene and environmental, health, and safety services, please visit, email or call (800) 807-1118.

About Clark Seif Clark
CSC was established in 1989 to help clients in both public and private sectors address indoor air quality, occupational, environmental, and health and safety (EH&S) issues. CSC is a leading provider of these services with multiple offices along the western seaboard and southwest. The company believes in science-based protocols and has a strong background in engineering, making them the preferred environmental consultants to industrial clients, healthcare facilities, architects, schools, builders, contractors, developers and real estate professionals.

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 Lithium Battery
 Industrial Hygiene
 Battery Fire
 Occupational Safety

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