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Lead-acid batteries contain sulfuric acid and only trained and authorized personnel should handle them. When talking about lead-acid batteries, people usually call sulfuric acid "battery acid" or the "electrolyte". An electrolyte is general term used to describe a non-metallic substance like sulfuric acid or salts that can conduct electricity when dissolved in water.
Lead-acid batteries can produce explosive mixtures of hydrogen and oxygen gases when they are being charged.
The charging of lead-acid batteries can be hazardous. When batteries are being recharged, they generate hydrogen gas that is explosive in certain concentrations in air (the flammability or explosive limits are 4.1% to 72% hydrogen in air). The spark-retarding vents help slow the rate of release of hydrogen, but the escaping hydrogen may form an explosive atmosphere around the battery if ventilation is poor. The ventilation system should be designed to provide an adequate amount of fresh air for the number of batteries being charged. This is essential to prevent an explosion.
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Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, CCOHS does not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current. CCOHS is not liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the information.