FAIRFIELD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--With the recent passage of “Reese’s Law,” aimed at safer packaging of small button batteries used in millions of electronic devices, “Congress has taken an important step toward protecting thousands of children from ingestion injury and death. The next step may well be to make the batteries themselves less harmful.”
So says Melissa Fensterstock, the CEO of Landsdowne Labs, LLC, a Fairfield, CT startup that is developing a battery coating designed to avert potentially dangerous bodily reactions should a battery be swallowed.
“Every year, tens of thousands of children swallow 'button batteries' – small, high density, coin-like batteries increasingly used in consumer devices,” Fensterstock said. “Too often, the swallowed batteries cause injury to children’s airways, internal organs, and, in many hundreds of cases, death.”
The new law is named for Reese Hamsmith, an 18-month-old Lubbock, Texas girl who died after swallowing a button battery. It requires that the Consumer Product Safety Commission create safety standards, such as the use of product warning labels and childproof packaging, to ensure that children under the age of 6 cannot access button batteries, according to the office of Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) a lead sponsor of the legislation. President Biden is expected to sign the bill into law later this week.
Fensterstock is “very glad that the new law will make it much more difficult for children to access batteries.” But “it only addresses a portion of the hazard and will not prevent ingestion by children who find open packages, loose replacements, or used batteries,” said Fensterstock, who has two small children.
Landsdowne’s technology uses niobium, a mineral found in the earth’s crust, to deactivate batteries soon after they come in contact with aqueous environments in the esophagus, stomach or intestinal tract – thus helping prevent electrochemical burns.
Landsdowne was recently awarded a National Science Foundation grant to further commercialization of its novel coating. The company is currently awaiting patent approval for its technology, and is testing the technology’s efficacy, scalability, and impact on battery performance.
Landsdowne Labs, LLC, formed in 2017, is a spinout from the world-renowned Langer Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The company’s first product, ChildLok, is an innovative button battery technology designed to deactivate batteries following accidental ingestion, made possible by advanced material science. Landsdowne Labs is commercializing this groundbreaking technology for global companies seeking a turnkey, low-cost solution to the growing button battery health crisis. Landsdowne is headquartered in Fairfield, CT.