A Louisiana woman is recovering from serious burns after a lithium-ion battery for an e-cigarette exploded in her hand.
Kimberly Wright of Downsvile, Louisiana, told NBC 10 News that the lithium-ion battery burn is “the most violent acute pain that I have ever felt” and described the sound of the explosion as “like the combination of a bottle rocket and pipe bomb.”
As she was dealing with the burning battery, dragging a burning rug out of her house, a second lithium-ion battery “skyrocketed to the roof and exploded,” NBC 10 reported.
“The second battery blew up and it was even more violent than the first,” Ms. Wright told NBC 10. “I was scared to look down. I thought it blew my two fingers off because it was so painful.”
She said that the experience has made her think about e-cigarettes and the batteries that power them. She used to think that using e-cigarettes was safe for her teenage son, but not anymore.
“I thought well yeah he’s 17 I can let him do it,” Ms. Wright told NBC 10. “Well, would I let him hold a bomb to his face? No. There is no reason for anything we put in our mouth or near our children to get up to 600 degrees,” she said.
Emergency room physicians and surgeons in hospitals across the country have expressed concern about the escalating number of severe burn injuries linked to e-cigarette explosions they have seen in recent years.
A study published in the May 2017 issue of the journal Burns noted that “research regarding the safety of [e-cigarettes] has been limited to an analysis of the inhaled vapor and the short and long-term effects on the body,” but that “a lesser recognized risk of electronic cigarette use is that of lithium-ion battery failure causing ignition, leading to severe thermal injury.”
Karla Klas, managing director for injury prevention and community outreach at the Trauma Burn Center at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, told the Detroit Free Press that the lithium-ion batteries used in e-cigarettes can explode with sufficient force to blow out teeth and crack vertebrae if they explode in or near the mouth.