Lead-acid batteries continue to be the most recyclable consumer product. Lead has a wide usage, with 70% of global lead going into the manufacture of lead-acid batteries (LABs) used in automobiles and power back-ups.
However, Lead used in the batteries pose a potential threat to human health and the environment if improperly discarded. The two main components of these batteries are sulfuric acid and lead. Both lead and sulfuric acid can contaminate solid and ground water. Sulfuric acid is highly corrosive, and lead has been linked to health effects in humans, particularly children.
While the battery industry is the world's largest consumer of lead in the world, the chief sources of lead in the environment—and lead exposure to people—have been transportation, paint, and storage and preparation of water and food.