In the old days, when we changed a vehicle battery, we threw out the old one and never gave it a second thought. Today, we know better. We know that:
- Individuals who become poisoned by lead can experience symptoms including irritability, stomach aches, poor appetite, diarrhea, colic, distractibility, and lethargy;
- Lead acid typically consists of 40 percent sulfuric acid, a corrosive that can burn skin; and
- The improper disposal of lead-acid batteries can contaminate soil and water. The toxic metal is not able to dissolve in water or biodegrade, dissipate, decay, or burn, making it an extremely harmful hazard.
Given the potential health, safety and environmental impact of lead-acid batteries, many states require vehicle maintenance facilities to recycle them. Community planning and right-to-know laws may also kick in.
Continue through this section to learn more about the basic principles underlying pertinent regulations, as well as ways you can protect your co-workers and the environment from the improper handling of lead-acid batteries.