Lithium, a class of heavy-metal compounds used for the detection of atmospheric pollution, is also being used in medical care.
The pharmaceutical company Roche said in a statement Monday that its lithium-sulfur batteries have become more popular in the last few years.
“In 2017, lithium batteries became the preferred method of charging electronic devices, as well as powering mobile devices and medical devices,” the statement read.
Roche said that in 2018, its lithium batteries helped patients with epilepsy, people with hypertension and those with heart problems to better manage their symptoms.
Since 2010, Roche has been in talks with the government of Japan to sell lithium batteries to the Japanese market, but the company has not been able to agree a license agreement with the country.
While lithium is the most common heavy metal found in the environment, there are other compounds that can also be found in lithium-based batteries.
For example, sodium sulfate, or sodium carbonate, can be found as a by-product of the manufacture of lithium batteries.
Lithium has also been linked to the development of cancer and other serious conditions.