Zapped by New Battery Regulations

To ensure they are handled safely, a new regulation requires battery terminals to be protected during transit to prevent terminal to terminal contact.  Terminal-terminal or terminal-other metal contact can generate enough heat to start a fire.  As a result of 98 different air transportation incidents since 1991 and several serious incidents  involving batteries during ground transit, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have revised their regulations to include several new safety measures.  Incidents involving battery terminals coming in contact with each other follow: 
  • A waste processing facility was destroyed by a lithium battery fire...Canada 2/07
  • A UPS DC-8 cargo plane caught fire, burning the majority of its contents, causing the plane to make an emergency landing; 3 crew members escaped unharmed…Washington D.C. 7/06
  • A three-alarm blaze destroyed a building and required the response of over 50 firefighters as a result of a worker mishandling a multicell battery… Arizona, 11/06
  • Fire destroyed  a tractor trailer while in transit as a result of a battery fire resulting from unprotected terminals… Jackson, MI 7/08

With the new regulations come changes to the onsite handling of batteries in the recycling containers on campus.  There is one easy, but critical step now necessary before depositing batteries into the recycling containers on campus.  Ensure the terminals cannot come into contact with other terminals, batteries, or metal objects by using one or more of the methods described below before depositing into campus containers for recycling:

  • Place tape over the terminals/contact points
  • Replace the original cap on the terminals
  • Place each battery into a separate bag
  • Bundle the same type of batteries together (using a rubber band) and then place tape over the tops (see below)
  • Place button-style batteries on a piece tape a small space apart from each other and affix another piece of tape over the top.  Then write the battery type on the tape.

Then recycle batteries as you normally would in the containers provided for on-campus for recycling.  For additional battery recycling information including pictures of the above acceptable methods please refer to our website at

If you see something, say something: 

SMOKE FREE coming August 10th.  NYPH and CUMC will expand smoking prohibitions, inside and out, to sidewalk areas under their control. This includes the block bounded by Broadway, Fort Washington, 165th and 168th streets, as well as the area around the Audubon buildings, up Haven Avenue including NI, ARB, Bard Hall and the Towers.  Beyond the direct benefit to non-smokers, this effort also recognizes the need to mitigate the impact of high asthma prevalence in Washington Heights.  MORE CLEANER AIR: A University work group (The Idlers) will be addressing compliance with NYC’s prohibitions on vehicle idling.  Stationary vehicles may not idle for more three minutes, or one minute in front of Public Schools.  Signage has been developed for distribution to drivers and additional education and enforcement efforts are under consideration.

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