The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has warned that consumers should not buy or use a particular type of lithium-ion battery cells -- used in vapes, e-cigarettes, flashlights and toys -- due to possible fire and even death risk.
"These cells are manufactured as industrial component parts of battery packs and are not intended for individual sale to consumers. However, they are being separated, rewrapped and sold as new consumer batteries, typically on the Internet," the CPSC said in a statement on Saturday.
The injuries related to exploding 18650 cells have been in the news but the frequency has increased in the recent past, as these are now available on popular e-commerce sites as well as with wholesale retailers.
"Specifically these battery cells may have exposed metal positive and negative terminals that can short-circuit when they come into contact with metal objects such as keys or loose change in a pocket," the Commission warned.
Once shorted, loose cells could overheat and experience thermal runaway, igniting the cell's internal materials and forcibly expelling burning contents, resulting in fires, explosions, serious injuries and even death.
"Unfortunately a growing number of small consumer products such as vaping devices, personal fans, headlamps and some toys are using loose 18650s as a power source," the CPSC informed.