If you vape, you should pay attention to the type of battery your device uses. This is because the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a warning that consumers should not buy or use individual 18650 lithium-ion battery cells due to possible fire risk.
18650 lithium-ion battery cells are sometimes used in vape pipes, e-cigarettes, flashlights, and toys. The CPSC says it is working with e-commerce sites like eBay to remove listings of loose 18650 cells.
“[T]hese battery cells may have exposed metal positive and negative terminals that can short-circuit when they come into contact with metal objects, such as keys or loose change in a pocket. Once shorted, loose cells can overheat and experience thermal runaway, igniting the cell’s internal materials and forcibly expelling burning contents, resulting in fires, explosions, serious injuries, and even death,” the CPSC said in a statement.
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One of the companies that make 18650 cells, LG Chem, had in 2018 asked distributors of e-cigarette equipment to stop selling them. LG Chem said “[i]ndividual consumer use and handling” could “lead to severe burns and disfigurement,” according to The Atlantic. Samsung and Sony also warned their consumers against using the cells.
The CPSC says that the batteries “are often misused as a stand-alone consumer battery, but do not have protection circuits”.
This is not the first time the CPSC is issue warnings about unsafe products. The commission had warned hoverboard manufacturers, demanding that they recall their unsafe products when they were bursting into flames in 2016. It even threatened to seize ones that were non-compliant at the border.
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