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[GreenYes] Toxic Batteries
It isn't true that only lead-acid batteries and nickel-cadmium NiCad
batteries are toxic.  Nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries are also

-NiCad batteries contain between 6-26% by weight cadmium and 9-30% by
weight nickel. They also contain 3-10% potassium hydroxide.  Some
versions also contain up to 4% lithium, and/or up to 2% cobalt.

-NiMH batteries generally do not contain any cadmium.  They do contain
30-50% by weight nickel, and 4-15% potassium hydroxide.  They also
generally contain 2.5-8% cobalt, and 5-10% zinc or other similar metals.

-The main toxic material in each of these batteries is cadmium in the
NiCads and cobalt in the NiMHs. Although nickel is also toxic, it is
efficiently recycled from both types of batteries and does not
appreciably bioaccumulate (accumulate exponentially up the food chain in

the bodies of animals and/or plants), making it less dangerous.
Potassium hydroxide is not necessarily an environmental threat, but like

the strong chemicals in all batteries, could cause personal injury if
the battery leaked.  Both cobalt and cadmium show evidence of
bioaccumulating in the food chain (including in plants), which means
that concentrations can rapidly become relatively high in organisms high

in the food chain.

-Similarities between cobalt and cadmium: They are both either known or
possible carcinogens.  They both cause lung, kidney, and other medical
problems in exposed industrial workers.  Both cobalt and cadmium are
present in approximately the same number of hazardous waste sites in the


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