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From cell phones to MP3 players: How rechargeable lithium-ion batteries affect the environment

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Boston Medical Center
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biology
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  1. Introduction to environmental affects of lithium-ion batteries
    1. Abstracts of the study
  2. What is currently being done to solve the problems?
  3. Other ways to counter the problem
  4. Conclusion
  5. Bibliography

Lithium-ion batteries one the most popular types of batteries used today. They are lightweight, have a high-energy density, and are less toxic to the environment than any other battery (Jensen et al. 1999). However, they still offer some undesirable effects to the environment. When not recycled properly, they increase the concentration of many types of metals in the environment (Rydh 2003). This can affect the physiological process of both the organisms and the entire ecosystem. The mining for these metals to make the batteries disrupts natural habitats in pristine areas of the globe. In order to avoid these unwanted consequences, it is important to recycle used lithium-ion batteries. It is also important to engineer these batteries to have the most power and longest life span possible, as well as using abundantly found metals to make them (Scrosati et al. 2002).

[...] From the moment it is manufactured, the battery's life with slowly decline, independent of its number of uses (Aurbach et al. 2001) The age of the battery determines its condition, not the number of times it has been discharged. Therefore, every lithium-ion battery made has an unofficial expiration date. After that amount of time, the product is unusable and must be discarded. This is where most of the environmental issues arise. III. Threats Posed to the Environment Many consider lithium-ion batteries an environmentally clean battery. [...]


[...] Luckily, many things of being done to eradicate the many imperfections of lithium-ion batteries and the problems they introduce to the environment. In fact, many things have already been done to fix safety and environmental issues. One example is reducing the risk fires and/or explosions when lithium-ion batteries come into contact with water. In the early stages of the batteries, there were many reports of the batteries causing injury to people or damage to its surroundings if it came into contact with water. [...]

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