In July 2019, the ACCC established a taskforce to conduct an investigation into button battery safety and consider the options of implementing a mandatory safety and information standard for button batteries and products containing button batteries under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).
For the purposes of the ACCC’s investigation, button cell batteries and coin cell batteries are each referred to as ‘button batteries’. In the battery industry, the term ‘coin’ is associated with lithium batteries and the term ‘button’ is associated with non-lithium batteries.
From July 2016, the ACCC led a two-year National strategy for improving the safety of button battery consumer products (National Strategy), working with other ACL regulators to improve the safety of consumer products containing button batteries.
The National Strategy commenced alongside release of the voluntary Industry Code for Consumer Goods that Contain Button Batteries (Industry Code), developed by industry and published in 2016.
In early 2019, the ACCC conducted an evaluation of the evidence collected during the operation of the National Strategy, including the results of market surveillance activities and data from poisons information centres and injury surveillance units.
The key finding of the evaluation was that awareness-raising activities and supplier self-regulation was not meaningfully reducing the risk of injury and death to children from exposure to button batteries and that regulatory action should be considered to address the hazard of button batteries.
On 16 August 2019, the ACCC released a button battery safety Issues Paper for comment. The issues paper invited responses from interested stakeholders on button battery safety, the perceived safety risks, the effectiveness of the voluntary Industry Code, consumer information and the button battery market in Australia.
Consultation closed on 30 September 2019. The ACCC received 29 submissions in response to the Issues Paper.
Submissions received have been published on the ACCC’s consultation hub at:
Button Battery Safety Issues Paper — published responses
On 19 March 2020, the ACCC released the Button Battery Safety – ACCC assessment of regulatory options – Consultation Paper for comment. The consultation paper outlined proposed mandatory requirements for button batteries and consumer goods that use them.
Consultation closed on 30 April 2020. The ACCC received 67 submissions in response to the Consultation Paper. These submissions will inform the ACCC’s development of a Final Recommendation to the Commonwealth Government in 2020.
Submissions received have been published on the ACCC’s consultation hub at: Button Battery Safety Consultation Paper - published responses.
The ACCC also prepared an industry factsheet which includes a summary of the ACCC’s proposed requirements to improve button battery safety.