Consumer Advocates Cheer Passage of Battery Safety Bill

Advocate Andy

Reese's Law heads to President's desk, will create safety standards for coin and button cell batteries

Consumer advocates including Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and Kids in Danger (KID) this week applauded Congress's passage of "Reese's Law," legislation that creates a set of safety standards designed to protect children from harms caused by coin and button cell batteries.

The law is headed to President Biden's desk for his signature.

The law directs the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to create standards for packaging for these batteries - commonly used in remote controls and other household devices. The shape of the batteries can block a child's windpipe if ingested and the size makes them easy for children to place in their mouths.

CFA issued a statement on what the move means for American consumers.

“We appreciate the extensive work of Members of Congress, parents, pediatricians, and consumer organizations in reaching this important milestone of passage of Reese’s Law,” stated Rachel Weintraub, Legislative Director and General Counsel with Consumer Federation of America. “This law will direct the U.S. CPSC to promulgate a mandatory safety standard that will make products and packaging containing button and coin cell batteries more secure, preventing dangerous ingestion.”

These small flat round batteries are often found in toys, remote controls, and other common electronics, and contain toxic chemicals that can lead to severe internal damage if ingested. Reese’s Law will help prevent thousands of serious injuries and deaths from battery ingestion. The legislation directs the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to develop new safety standards to prevent accidental ingestion of button and coin cell batteries by children, including:

· Creating performance standards requiring the compartments of consumer products containing button cell or coin batteries to be secured to prevent access by young children;

· Requiring button or coin cell packaging to be child-resistant; and

· Requiring visible warning labels including directly on the product when practical, and that clearly state the hazard of ingestion and instruct consumers to keep new and used batteries out of the reach of children, and to seek immediate medical attention if a battery is ingested. 

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Andy Spears is a middle Tennessee writer and policy advocate. He reports on news around public policy issues - education, health care, consumer protection, and more.

Nashville, TN

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