"Not even the manufacturers know the full extent of the problem," according to Stuart Lipoff of IPAction Partners, a Massachusetts-based research firm specializing in next-generation personal products. Lipoff points out that many of the problems have been caught during factory assembly, minimizing the number of dangerous products that actually enter the retail channel.
The massive use of batteries in digital cameras, mobile phones, PDAs, laptop computers and advanced remote control devices and other home electronics products contributes to the looming problem. Add to this the diverse technologies now being used (lithium-ion, NiMH and NiCad plus a small array of variations, such as lithium polymer), and throw in sheer human stupidity. Some of the battery blow-ups emerged from consumers trying to recharge batteries that are not thus intended.
Nonetheless, the battery makers face several dilemmas. High among these hurdles is the issue of counterfeit batteries. Illicit suppliers have put familiar brand and packaging on batteries. Their counterfeit versions often leave out protective electronics and other features.