Environmental Problems About Electric Lift Truck Batteries
The electric lift truck is generally considered more safe and stable 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 though. They have rechargeable batteries as their source of power, and batteries can present risks to the natural world as well as to personal safety. There are hazards associated with the manufacture, use, storage and disposal of rechargeable batteries for lift trucks.
The lift truck battery consists of lead plates being placed in a sulfuric acid solution, that are called lead-acid rechargeable batteries. Lead is toxic which, when utilized in manufacturing processes, poses hazards to the quality of water due to runoff and drainage. Once lead enters a water system it could lead to different types of health issues to human beings and could even lead to death. The sulfuric acid utilized in forklift batteries is really detrimental to skin and can lead to severe burns. Sulfuric acid also produces toxic fumes which could cause damage to both the natural environment and to humans.
Normal Storage and Use
Lead-acid batteries could produce hydrogen gas as a chemical byproduct when recharging. When recharging batteries for any types of vehicle or a forklift, smoking, sparks, flames and heat should be kept well away from the recharging site. The combustible hydrogen could result in an explosion if ignited by flame or heat.
If it touches the bare skin, sulfuric acid in the batteries could result in chemical burns. This is not a problem during normal use of the battery, but if a battery is punctured or damaged, the acid can spray or leak, potentially burning anybody who is nearby.
Improper disposal of lead-acid batteries must always be avoided. These batteries must be recycled properly or reused in new batteries so that the sulfuric acid can either be neutralized or recycled. In order to avoid the serious environmental consequences of incorrect disposal, all lead-acid batteries bought or sold in the U.S. include a "core charge" which will only be returned if the used battery is turned in.