Environmental Problems About Electric Lift Truck Batteries
The electric forklift is usually considered more stable and safe compared to gas and diesel powered internal combustion engines. Both gas and diesel engines pose a fire risk and emit harmful exhaust toxins. The electric forklift is not without is hazards however. They have rechargeable batteries as their power source, and batteries could present risks to the natural world as well as to personal safety. There are risks connected with the storage, disposal, use and manufacture of rechargeable batteries for forklifts.
Nearly all forklift batteries are made by placing lead plates into a solution of sulfuric acid. These are referred to as lead-acid rechargeable batteries. Lead is toxic that, when utilized in manufacturing processes, poses hazards to water quality because of runoff and drainage. Once lead enters a water system it can result in a range of health issues to people and could even lead to death. The sulfuric acid utilized in forklift batteries is very detrimental to skin and can result in severe burns. Sulfuric acid also produces harmful fumes which could cause damage to both the environment and to human beings.
Normal Storage and Use
When recharging, the lead-acid battery could produce hydrogen gas as a chemical byproduct. When recharging batteries for a forklift or any other kinds of vehicle, heat, flames, sparks and smoking must be kept well away from the recharging site. The flammable hydrogen could cause an explosion if ignited by heat or flame.
If it come into contact with bare skin, sulfuric acid in the batteries could result in chemical burns. This is not an issue during normal use of the battery, but if a battery is punctured or damaged, the acid could leak or spray, potentially burning anyone who is nearby.
Disposing of lead-acid batteries improperly must be avoided at all costs. The sulfuric acid can either be recycled or neutralized or can be reused in new batteries. To be able to avoid the serious environmental consequences of wrong disposal, all lead-acid batteries sold or purchased in the U.S. include a "core charge" which would only be returned if the used battery is turned in.