The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Testing Batteries for Dangerous Contents

The Swiss Federal Materials Testing and Research Institute (Empa) has launched a control campaign on behalf of the Federal Office for the Environment (Bafu) to test batteries and accumulators for harmful substances. Despite strict limits, batteries and accumulators still contain too many environmental or health-damaging substances such as mercury, cadmium and lead. Until now, there was no reliable and accepted method to accurately determine the mentioned elements in batteries in Switzerland. A research team has therefore developed an analysis method to control the compliance with existing regulations. The method involves discharging the batteries, carefully dismantling and grinding them, sorting the various components of the different battery types and dissolving them in an acid mixture. This allows the heavy metals to be dissolved and determined spectroscopically. The results of the campaign, which will examine around 80 battery types in 2021, are expected in 2024. The research team has already found that potential hazardous substances are not always where they are expected to be, but can also be found in the battery casing.

©Keystone/SDA

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