U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) Tours Landsdowne Labs

-Cites importance of innovative technology to avert serious child button-battery ingestion injury

-Joined by Trista Hamsmith, whose two-year-old daughter Reese died after swallowing a button battery

FAIRFIELD, Conn.--()--“Children swallow button batteries. That’s the reality of our world. Because the batteries become loose from devices, and then can literally burn through the throat of a young child. It happens again and again…[leading to] years of treatment, surgery, and therapy.”

So said U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, D-CT, on an October 7 visit to Landsdowne Labs, at Fairfield University, in Fairfield, CT. Link to video of remarks

Landsdowne has since received a patent for technology that rapidly reduces chemical reactions when button batteries are swallowed.

To help protect children from button battery ingestion injury or death, Blumenthal co-sponsored the recently passed Reese’s Law, which requires the Consumer Product Safety Commission to strictly regulate the packaging and labeling of button batteries.

But, as Landsdowne Labs CEO Melissa Fensterstock has pointed out, despite careful packaging, over time, batteries be removed from or fall out of used consumer devices, and be swallowed by children, elders or pets—causing injury to bodily tissue.

During a tour of Landsdowne’s laboratory facilities, Ravikumar Vasudevan, PhD, Landsdowne’s Vice President of Engineering, demonstrated how the new technology, when used to encase button batteries, reduces chemical reactions that can cause serious tissue burns. The technology employs the earth mineral niobium in deactivating a battery’s electrolytic current when the battery is immersed in an electrically conductive aqueous environment such as the esophagus or GI tract.

In the demonstration, Vasudevan showed that an untreated battery immersed in saline solution immediately set off an ongoing electrochemical “hydrolysis” reaction causing effervescence, rust formation, and color changes to the solution. For a treated battery, the reaction rate was rapidly reduced, with no apparent change in solution color.

In a second demonstration, an untreated battery placed on a slice of delicatessen ham similarly set off an electrochemical reaction, which began to damage the meat as might chemicals commonly used to clear clogged drains. A treated battery mitigated such damage.

Landsdowne has confirmed that the technology is compatible with current manufacturing practices, Vasudevan said.

Also present on the tour was Trista Hamsmith, whose two-year-old daughter Reese died in 2020 after swallowing a button battery. Hamsmith said: “All it takes is turning around to stir the soup” to miss seeing a child swallow a battery--and tissue damage can occur within 15 minutes. Hamsmith is the founder of Reese's Purpose, a non-profit organization formed to identify, advocate and correct safety issues impacting children and their families. “Reese’s Law” is named after her daughter.

Fensterstock, who has two small children, cited recent findings, published in the Journal of American Medical Association, that with the burgeoning use of devices powered by button batteries, hospital emergency rooms have seen increasing numbers of children with button battery injuries. batteries. “We are excited that our technology can now be adopted by battery manufacturers,” she said.

Senator Blumenthal commented: “Landsdowne Labs is proving that Connecticut is a leader in technology designed to save lives and prevent serious injury. Their skilled and dedicated workforce has developed technology to reduce hazards posed by batteries and keep kids safe.”

Landsdowne Labs, LLC, formed in 2017, is a spinout from the laboratories of world-renowned Robert Langer at MIT and of Jeff Karp at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, in Boston. 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.


Phone: 203-973-7869

Release Summary

At Landsdowne Labs, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) cites need for innovative tech aimed at averting serious button battery ingestion injury.


Phone: 203-973-7869