Senate Passes Button Cell Battery Regulations, Heads To President’s Desk
Last week, the Senate passed Reese’s Law, legislation that requires the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to establish a consumer product safety standard for button cell or coin batteries. The law, which earlier passed the House and will now go to President Biden’s desk for signing, is named for Reese Hamsmith, who died in 2020 at 18 months old after swallowing a button cell battery.
The legislation’s directives are likely to be important considerations for the promotional product marketplace, considering how many items with electronic components are powered by button cell batteries. Button cells and their risks have been a topic of discussion at PPAI’s Product Responsibility Summit and more recently, the motivation behind an industry product recall.
Reese’s Law directs the CPSC to establish certain safety standards regarding batteries that pose an ingestion hazard like button cells. Specifically, the law requires the CPSC to:
- Create performance standards requiring the compartments of a consumer product containing button cell or coin batteries to be secured in order to prevent access by children who are six years of age or younger.
- Require warning labels in literature accompanying the product, on the packaging and directly on the product when practical so it is visible.
- Require warning labels to clearly identify the hazard of ingestion.
- Require warning labels that instruct consumers to keep new and used batteries out of the reach of children, and to seek immediate medical attention is a battery is ingested.
Reese’s Law received bipartisan support and in September was introduced in the House by Rep. Robin L. Kelly of Illinois, Rep. Jodey Arrington of Texas and Rep. Ted Lieu of California. It was also endorsed by industry and consumer groups, including Hallmark, the Toy Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, Consumer Reports, Reese’s Purpose, Kids In Danger, U.S. Public Interest Research Group and the Consumer Federation of America.
“Button batteries are included in many children’s toys, remotes and other household items that children have access to every day. If ingested, these batteries cause serious injuries that often become fatal,” says Rep. Kelly in a September news release.
Speaking after the bill’s passage in the Senate, Rep. Arrington, says, “Reese’s Law will improve safeguards for button batteries, potentially saving hundreds of lives every year and sparing families the indescribable heartbreak of losing a child. I am honored to work with Rep. Kelly and humbled to play a small role in passing this important piece of legislation. I am pleased the Senate passed this bill and eager for the President to sign it into law.”