asked the Minister for Trade if he is satisfied with the current safety record of zinc-carbon, alkaline and button-cell batteries produced in the United Kingdom; how many accidents arising from the use or storage of such batteries have been reported to his Department over the past five years; and if he is satisfied with the forms of quality control, design and research on safety currently carried out within the industry.
[pursuant to his reply, 27 April 1982, c. 224]: There is no evidence to show that the safety record of batteries of the kind referred to is unsatisfactory. Under the home accident surveillance system of my Department there have been six accidents, including three explosions, reported in the past five years of a kind that might be attributed to a fault in the product's use or storage. This would represent a very small number of what I understand are the millions manufactured annually in the United Kingdom. I have also had two cases, one recent, reported to my Department direct of these batteries exploding. The causes are not known, but my Department is discussing the matter with the manufacturers. There is no reason to believe that quality control, design and research on safety are unsatisfactory in this industry, but I shall keep this under review.