Button and coin batteries can be found in toys, remote controls, quartz watches, and various other products. Button and coin batteries are also potential safety hazards if swallowed. These batteries are therefore subject to safety standards and regulations in the European Union – which we cover in this guide.
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EN 60086 – Primary Batteries
EN 60086 is a standard that contains 5 parts. It covers definitions, test methods, marking, performance, and other aspects for primary lithium batteries, that is non-rechargeable lithium batteries. The purpose of the standards is to ensure the batteries’ safe operation under intended use and reasonably foreseeable misuse.
EN 60086 covers primary (non-rechargeable) batteries, including
- Coin batteries
- Button batteries
- Cylindrical batteries
EN 60086 addresses risks related to primary lithium batteries, including the following:
- Ingestion risks
- Fire risks
- Leakage risks
- Rupture risks
- Explosion risks
- Short circuit risks
EN 60086 also specifies warning and child-resistant packaging requirements for coin and button batteries.
EN 60086 provides testing procedures for covered batteries. In particular, packaging should be child-resistant, ie. it should be designed to prevent children from easily opening the packaging.
EN 60086 specifies the wording for the warning label that should be applied to covered batteries or their packaging, such as “Keep out reach of children”.
EN 62115 – Electric Toys – Safety
EN 62115 is a standard that is harmonized under the Toy Safety Directive. It specifies the requirements of the safe use of electric toys, including batteries compartment design and warnings for button and coin batteries.
EN 62115 covers electric toys that are used by children under the age of 14 years old, including:
- Remote control cars
- Piano mats
- Electronic robots building kits
- Doll’s houses have an interior lamp
EN 62115 states that toys that are operated by batteries must be properly designed to prevent children from accessing the batteries easily. According to the standard, this goal should be achieved by securing the battery compartment with one or more screws, so that a screwdriver is needed to access the batteries.
EN 62115 states that electric toys operated by batteries should include warnings on the product itself or the packaging to provide instructions on what actions to take in the event that a child swallows a battery. You can read more about this topic in this guide.
Toy Safety Directive
The Toy Safety Directive aims at reducing safety risks posed by toys that are designed to be used by children under the age of 14 years old. It sets out safety requirements regarding the mechanical properties, chemical properties, flammability, and other aspects of toys. It also concerns toy safety relating to the electrical functions of toys that are operated by batteries.
As explained, the Toy Safety Directive covers children’s toys in general. Here we list some examples of toys that might be operated by button or coin batteries:
- Talking cactus toys
- Remote control drones
- Electronic pets
- Flashing cubes
The Toy Safety Directive specifies the EN 71 standards as the harmonized standards for toy importers and manufacturers placing children’s toys in the European Union.
This means that electric toys have to comply with the safety requirements set out in EN 71-1 concerning mechanical, physical, and other properties of toys.
Further, as already discussed, EN 62115 – Electric Toys – Safety applies to electric and electronic toys, including toys operated by button and coin batteries. This standard is also harmonized under the Toy Safety Directive.
Toy importers and manufacturers’ responsibilities include:
a. Ensuring compliance with relevant technical requirements, which can be achieved by complying with relevant harmonized standards
b. Draw up technical documentations
c. Issuing the Declaration of Conformity
d. Having traceability information and safety instructions on the product and/or product packaging labeling
e. Affixing CE mark, and WEEE mark (when applicable)
The Battery Directive sets up requirements for batteries and accumulators regarding hazardous substance limits, labeling, waste collection, recycling, and disposal.
The requirements of the Battery Directive apply to batteries and accumulators of all shapes, weights, material composition, and usage, including:
- Button cell and coin batteries
- Lithium-ion batteries
- Lithium metal batteries
- Nickel cadmium batteries
- Nickel metal hydride batteries
The Battery Directive restricts heavy metals and their compounds in covered products The following restrictions apply:
- Mercury and its compounds < 0.0005% by weight
- Cadmium and its compound < 0.002% by weight
- Lead – no limitation is set, however, the label should include the symbol “Pb” if the content of lead is over 0.004% by weight
The Battery Directive requires covered batteries and accumulators, including button cells and coin batteries to bear the separate collection symbol on the product packaging, which is represented by a crossed-out wheeled bin. The purpose of this sign is to remind the consumers that batteries must not be disposed of in the garbage bins that collect regular wastes.
The chemical symbol of restricted substances should also be placed below the separate collection symbol, in some cases. For instance, when the battery is exempted from the substance restriction we explained in the previous paragraph, such as batteries for alarm systems, and it contains mercury or cadmium above their threshold limit, such batteries should bear the chemical symbol “Hg”, or “Cd”.
As already explained, the Battery Directive requires that the chemical symbol must be printed below the separate collection symbol. The size of the chemical symbol should cover an area of at least 1/4 of the separate collection symbol.
Importers and manufacturers placing batteries into the EU market should register their information with the national organizations in the destined markets.
For example, companies selling batteries and accumulators in France must register with the French Environment and Energy Management Agency. You can find the links to the national registration portals on this website.
The General Product Safety Directive (GPSD) aims to ensure the general safety of consumer products before they can be placed in the EU market. Thus, this directive also addresses the safety of button and coin batteries.
The GPSD covers most consumer products sold in the EU, including:
- Button and coin batteries
- Electronic products that are operated with the button or coin batteries
In order to comply with GPSD’s technical requirements, importers and manufacturers can test their products against relevant harmonized standards, when these standards exist.
If there are not any existing harmonized standards, importers or manufacturers can still rely on relevant international and national standards, such as EN 60086 – Primary batteries.
REACH is a regulation that restricts dangerous substances in consumer products. The requirements of REACH apply to most consumer products, including batteries and their packaging.
REACH covers most consumer products, including:
- Button and coin batteries
- Electronic products that are operated by batteries
- Plastic or paper packaging for batteries
REACH restricts the use of certain substances that might be found in batteries, including the following substances that are in the REACH’s Substance of Very High Concern (SVHC) Candidate List:
a. Diglyme (used as a solvent in lithium batteries)
b. Chromium trioxide (used to prevent batteries corrosion/oxidation)
c. Cobalt dichloride (used as anode materials for high-performance lithium-ion batteries)
d. Potassium dichromate (used as depolarizer for dry cells)
Importers or manufacturers must notify the ECHA if their products contain SVHCs in a concentration over 0.1% weight by weight (w/w) by entering the required data on the SCIP (Substances of Concern In articles as such or in complex objects (Products)) database, which is established under the Waste Framework Directive. They must also notify customers of the presence of SVHC in their products if the SVHC content exceeds 0.1% by weight if requested.
Third-party lab testing is necessary to assess if your product complies with regulations and standards applicable to button and coin batteries. As mentioned, these batteries are subject to various substance restrictions. This means that the batteries must not contain restricted substances above the set. limits.
However, button and coin battery standards also cover mechanical properties in the sense that the battery should not, for example, be easily removable from a toy. As such, the testing process may also cover mechanical and physical testing. In practice, this means that the testing company must determine if the batteries can be easily removed or not from the device.