Lithium-ion batteries are considered more environmentally-friendly than other batteries because they are rechargeable, and longer lasting (you go through as many of them since they take a while to stop working), and they do not contain toxic metals, like other batteries. Because of this, they are considered a non-hazardous waste when they are disposed of and the U.S. government is more relaxed about people not recycling them than other batteries. As far as radioactive emissions, I don’t think so. Although lithium ion batteries do contain stable isotopes, any radioactivity would be considered negligible, otherwise they would be labeled as hazardous.
Yes, lithium batteries do give off a low level of lithium-ion radiation. The radiation generated by cell phones is of particular concern, and is thought to be carcinogenic – the World Health Organization is currently studying how harmful cell phones can actually be, and what measures should be taken to protect the user. Because lithium batteries are rechargeable, this makes them better for the environment than standard alkaline batteries. Additionally, while lithium batteries do not last forever, they are recycled – in fact, it is illegal in some areas to discard rechargeable batteries.
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