Button battery concerns

Button battery concerns

Desmond Bowers showing his button battery task force experiment. Photograph – Aaron Van Rongen.

Concerned East Cannington resident Desmond Bowers who performed an experiment using button batteries found in Scholastic Book Club’s walkie talkies is finally getting a response back.

Mr Bowers performed an experiment to determine whether the batteries would react with the moisture found in skin.

He used a piece of ham and placed the six batteries found in one walkie talkie to record the reaction over 12 minutes, then four hours and later 12 hours.

Mr Bowers said he was not surprised to notice an extreme reaction within 12 minutes, after the batteries began to burn the ham and has since been in contact with Member for Cannington Bill Johnston.

Mr Johnston said in a reply letter to Mr Bowers that it was noted that Gibbs Street Primary had decided to put in place an additional process in the distribution of Scholastic Book Club items as a result of button batteries having the risk of burning if in contact with the skin.

In the letter, Mr Johnston said principal Julie French had already agreed to meet with the parent volunteers who manage the book club.

“An additional process in the distribution of book club items will be created so that any items containing button batteries or a warning regarding a choking hazard will need to be collected by an adult and not given directly to the student,” he said.

A Scholastic spokesperson said the company ensured every Book Club product met the strict Australian safety standards for teachers and students.

“We also sample and test these products ourselves before we decide whether they’re suitable for our customers,” he said.

“When used as intended each item in Book Club is safe for use.

“In this case we’ve ensured that the batteries are screwed into the watches and require an adult to unscrew the back in order to reach the batteries.

“The batteries are safely housed in the watches and it is extremely unlikely that they will ever come into contact with a child’s skin, especially for hours as is noted in the bacon experiment.”