U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal is again pushing for new regulations on electronic cigarettes. His concern was re-sparked after an e-cig blew up in a Stratford man's face earlier this month and other recent exploding e-cig incidents.
“A defective or faulty battery that exploded in his mouth, and destroyed several of his teeth,” said Blumenthal.
The lithium ion batteries inside of e-Cigarettes have been to blame in nearly all the explosions.
On Wednesday, an e-cig exploded in a California man’s pocket while he sat on a public bus.
“There are no standards, no protections, no real guarantees about the safety of these lithium ion batteries,” said Blumenthal.
Many of the batteries that have exploded were made in China. There, Blumenthal said they aren’t regulated, so the U.S. needs to do more to ensure product safety.
“There is simply no protection in China, no oversight, no standards,” said Blumenthal. “We are at the mercy of Chinese defective batteries that can seriously injure people.”
Friday, Blumenthal wrote to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) calling on the federal agencies to recall the exploding devices and establish clear safety standards for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries used in the devices.
In the meantime, he urges airlines to act.
“I am asking that the airlines voluntarily ban them from the cabins of flights,” said Blumenthal.
Blumenthal tried to get e-cigarettes banned from aircraft cabins in an aviation bill Congress considered earlier this year. But, it ended up only extending aviation programs for the short term instead of advancing new aviation safety measures. He said he will try again next year.
The FAA has already banned e-cigs from checked luggage.
We reached out to the FDA, which regulates e-cigarettes, they declined to comment to us. However, they said they will respond to Senator Blumenthal directly.
The full text of Blumenthal’s letter to the FDA and CPSC is available here.