Safe & Trusted Technology

Sustainable icon for lead batteries

Lead batteries are a safe, reliable and trusted technology for everyday energy storage. The lead battery industry is one of the most highly regulated and monitored industries in the U.S. Many newer energy storage chemistries do not have the safety track record that lead batteries have maintained.

A Legacy of Safety

Lead batteries have a legacy of safety in manufacturing, shipping, diverse applications and recycling. While the lead battery industry is the world’s largest consumer of lead, air emissions of lead from lead battery production are less than 1% of total U.S. lead emissions. Historically, the main sources of human lead exposure have been from leaded paint, leaded gasoline, leaded pottery, lead water pipes and lead solder – not lead batteries.

Safe for Employees

U.S. battery manufacturing operates under extremely rigorous and extensive worker and environmental protection standards. The lead battery industry puts employee health and safety first, meeting or going above and beyond strict environmental and workplace regulations. They consistently exceed Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards by providing progressive safety training, on-site hygiene facilities and modern safety equipment.

The industry is recognized by The Sustainability Consortium for its strong record on worker health and safety.

The U.S. lead battery industry strives to continually advance its practices to protect workers, communities and the environment. The industry has made substantial voluntary investments in progressive safety training, on-site hygiene, modern equipment and advanced engineering controls.

Safe for Communities

The lead battery industry strives to continually advance processes to protect communities and the environment. Air emissions from lead battery production and recycling are each less than 1% of total U.S. lead emissions.

The lead battery industry has developed a Global Material Stewardship Program to share best practices in the responsible management of lead throughout the lifecycle of automotive and industrial batteries worldwide.

Lead battery safety for data center applications

Safe for Diverse Applications

Lead batteries have a long history of being the most reliable, safe and trusted technology available for energy storage.  They safely service diverse applications such as automotive, aviation, marine, medical, nuclear, motive power, standby, uninterruptible power supplies, energy storage, load leveling, renewable energy, security, emergency lighting, electric and hybrid electric vehicles, and many more. Charging and discharging of lead batteries at rates from a few milliamps to many thousands of amps is performed safely on a daily basis.

Unlike newer battery technologies, lead batteries have more than a century of safe use in vital industries such as transportation, communication, security, marine, nuclear, medical and aviation. The world entrusts 50% of its rechargeable energy storage needs to lead batteries.

Lead batteries operate reliably at wide-ranging temperatures from hot desert conditions to cold arctic environments. This is one of the many reasons why lead are one of the preferred solutions for data center uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems.

Sealed VRLA battery designs have made the use of lead battery technology even safer. With these non-spillable designs, the chances of acid leaking on to the user or the vehicle are minimal. Also, in the unfortunate event of a car accident, no acid will spill out if the battery is cracked or punctured.

The lead battery chemistry is abuse tolerant, versatile, and a safe and reliable battery technology.

Established Regulations and Processes Ensure Safety

Newer battery technologies have a more difficult time achieving the recycling advances and developing reclamation processes comparable to those established by the lead battery industry. The innovative processes for recycling lead batteries and the facilities that support them have progressively advanced over the years.

Along with innovative recycling practices, shipping of both flooded and sealed lead batteries has been managed safely and efficiently during the long history of lead battery use. Shippers of non-spillable lead batteries are provided exceptions to regulations when proper testing and marking requirements are met, making shipping even more efficient yet just as safe. Collection, transportation and handling of spent lead batteries are well defined and regulated by the U.S. government and by most states, often following the model legislation provided by BCI.

Charging and discharging of lead batteries at rates from a few milliamps to many thousands of amps is performed safely on a daily basis. They operate safely and reliably at widely ranging ambient temperatures and in every geographical location, from hot desert conditions to cold arctic environments. Sealed VRLA battery designs have made the use of lead battery technology even safer. With these non-spillable designs, the chances of acid leaking on to the user or the vehicle are minimal. Also, in the unfortunate event of a car accident, no acid will spill out if the battery is cracked or punctured. The lead battery chemistry is abuse tolerant, versatile, and a safe and reliable battery technology.

What Does Employee Safety Mean to the Lead Battery Industry?

Watch this short video and hear from lead battery industry employees to find out.

Dr. John Uhrie, Doe Run

With improved cooperation among stakeholders, increased research funding, and by following the circular economy example of lead batteries, the U.S. can regain domestic supply chain security and advance a low-carbon and renewable energy future.

Dr. John Uhrie, Vice President of Exploration, Research and Technical Development, The Doe Run Company