Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) visited campus on Friday morning upon an invitation from Landsdowne Labs. Chief Executive Officer of Landsdowne Labs Melissa Fensterstock and other collaborators at Landsdowne gave the Senator a tour of the company’s lab in Fairfield University’s Bannow Science Center. The company showcased their child-safe niobium button batteries fabricated in response to a large number of child fatalities from ingesting unsafe button batteries. Landsdowne is seeking legislative support from Senator Blumenthal.

Fensterstock and her team were joined by Trista Hamsmith, founder of Reese’s Purpose, whose 18-month-old daughter passed away after ingesting a button battery in December of 2020. Upon her successful influence passing “Reese’s Law” at the federal level, which requires the Consumer Product Safety Commission to infiltrate safety standards on unsafe batteries, Hamsmith flew out from Texas to represent the issue with Landsdowne. 

The battery on the left is a leading product on the market, and the battery on the right was created by Landsdowne. These are the effects of the batteries on organic material, mimicking that of the esophagus, after one hour of exposure. (Photo by Joseph Westhoff).

Landsdowne Vice President of Engineering Ravikumar Vasudevan demonstrated the burning effects of a typical button battery on organic material in comparison to a Landsdowne battery in the presentation. The demonstration sought to represent Landsdowne’s product’s effectiveness in reducing the damaging and burning effects of a button battery on a child’s esophagus. 

Senator Blumenthal commented on the project, saying, “we need this inventive genius and hopefully successful solution to an everyday problem in people’s homes […] The solution is here.”

Former Reconstructive Plastic Surgeon Daniel Goldberg, M.D. commented on the product, calling it an “absolute game changer.”

“Hopefully we’ll get to implement the solution in a practical way because kids are being injured and are dying at an increasing rate […] and big business should not be the reason this doesn’t happen,” Goldberg shared further. 

Hamsmith ended the meeting with a personal statement, saying, “as a parent, paying an extra dime for a safer battery is a no brainer. Reese’s Purpose supports the safer battery and looks forward to seeing it available to consumers as an integral part of the solution.”


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