Thank you for the question. There are a few
reasons why batteries can be harmful when not
disposed of properly. Single-use batteries still
contain a very small amount of mercury and when
not recycled, they can break down and potential
hazards will arise from the leaks. Some
rechargeable batteries also contain cadmium which
can be bad for the environment and people if it
were also to leak or be burned. Batteries can also
cause soil and water pollution and endanger some
wildlife. For example, the cadmium will do damage
to the microorganisms in the soil and affect the
breakdown of organic matter. It also affects fish
which reduces their numbers and make it unsafe for
Batteries use chemicals to store electrical
energy, these chemicals often being salts that are
toxic because they contain heavy metals (e.g.
silver, lead, etc.). Not disposing of batteries
properly carries a risk that these toxic chemicals
will escape into the environment and poison
something (or someone).
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