Monday, July 22, 2024

ACCC warns: Comply with mandatory button battery laws or face serious penalties

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) has placed businesses that sell button batteries or products powered by them on notice as mandatory button battery laws come into place.

Businesses have been warned that they must now comply with the mandatory button battery safety and information standards, which take into effect from 22 June or face serious penalties.

ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard says the button battery safety and information standards are world-first and are “critical in helping prevent potentially life-threatening injuries to children”.

Ms Rickard says that the ACCC will be on the lookout for products that don’t comply with the new standards both online and in stores, including major retailers and pharmacies.

“Businesses are on notice,” she says. “Serious penalties may apply if we find unsafe or non-compliant products.”

Under the new standards, products must have secure battery compartments to prevent children from accessing the batteries.

Button batteries must be supplied in child-resistant packaging.

Products and batteries must have additional warnings and emergency advice on the batteries, packaging, and instructions.

Suppliers must also ensure products have been compliance tested.

The ACCC has been working with the business community during the past 18 months since the standards were announced.

“We have been explaining the standards during this transition period to support businesses make the required changes to their products,” says Ms Rickard.

“Already, businesses have recalled a number of different products – everything from novelty light-up toys to children’s clothing, remote controls for smoke alarms and ceiling fans to even a yoghurt that had a light-up lid.”

In 2021, the ACCC published a fact sheet and a guide for business on the button battery mandatory standard.

When ingested or inserted, button batteries can cause serious within two hours or death within days.

When lodged in the body and in contact with bodily fluid, button batteries can burn through tissue and cause catastrophic bleeding.

Symptoms may include gagging or choking, drooling, chest pain (grunting), coughing or noisy breathing, food refusal, black or red bowel motions, nose bleeds, spitting blood or blood-stained saliva, unexplained vomiting, fever, abdominal pain, or general discomfort.

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