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NY City Council introduces 2 more lithium-ion battery safety bills

Published April 17, 2023

NEW YORK (BRAIN) — The City Council on Monday introduced two more bills in response to escalating lithium-ion battery fires in the city.

One bill would aim to amend the administrative city code to establish a program to provide reduced- or no-cost lithium-ion batteries. It would require the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection, in collaboration with the Department of Sanitation and the Fire Department, to establish a program to provide new batteries for use in powered mobility devices. Such batteries also could be provided in exchange for used batteries.

The other would amend the administrative city code to require businesses using e-bikes for commercial purposes to provide workers with fireproof or fire-resistant containers to charge and store removable batteries.

The bills were presented during a Committee on Fire and Emergency Management meeting, but no action was taken. They come a month after Mayor Eric Adams signed into law a lithium-ion battery safety package that included prohibiting the sale of e-bikes — and other powered mobility devices like e-scooters and batteries — that don't meet recognized certification like UL.

In addition, Adams said last month the city will create a fire marshal task force focused on identifying violators of the fire code. The task force will use data to identify potential violators and high-risk situations or "hot spots," which will be targeted for outreach and inspection for compliance with existing fire codes.

Also, Adams said the city will continue to advocate to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and other federal partners to ensure that devices on New York City's shelves meet applicable safety standards. And it will seek partnerships with local, state, and federal partners to further research the health impacts on first-responders handling lithium-ion batteries, which can be extremely toxic when they burn.

Since last month, lithium-ion battery fires have continued to dominate headlines in the city, including one last week when a battery fire at a Queens home killed a 7-year-old and his 19-year-old sister.

Topics associated with this article: Electric bike

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