RALEIGH, N.C. – Lenovo and IBM issued a recall for more than 500,000 laptop batteries made by Sony on Thursday.

The recall followed Lenovo’s investigation into a ThinkPad laptop that exploded in flames earlier this month at Los Angeles International Airport.

“These lithium-ion batteries can cause overheating, posing a fire hazard to consumers,” the Consumer Product Safety Commission said in a statement.

Lenovo and IBM, which manufactured ThinkPad laptops before Lenovo acquired IBM’s personal computer business in May of 2005, issued the voluntary recall. The firms worked with the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Some 526,000 batteries installed in nine various ThinkPad models are involved.

The rechargeable, lithium-ion batteries may pose a fire hazard, the companies said.

Some 168,500 of the batteries were sold in the U.S., according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The Lenovo recall is the fourth involving laptop batters since August. Dell was forced to recall 4.1 million batteries after a series of incidents involving overheating laptops. Apple recalled 1.8 million and Toshiba recalled 340,000. Toshiba cited power loss problems in the batteries. Apple cited fire hazard as the reason for its recall.

Julie Vallese, spokeswoman for the Consumer Product Safety Commission, told The Associated Press that the overheating problem did not appear to be linked to the defects cited in the Apple and Dell cases.

In announcing its investigation last week, Lenovo said that customer safety was its top priority. A Lenovo investigative team arrived in Los Angeles less than 12 hours after the ThinkPad incident. The ThinkPad was taken to a Lenovo lab in Japan for an investigation.

Lenovo issued the following statement:

Dear Lenovo Customer,

Lenovo and IBM Corporation, in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and other regulatory agencies, have announced the voluntary recall of certain lithium-ion batteries manufactured by Sony Corporation. In the interest of public safety, Lenovo will offer customers free-of-charge replacement batteries for all recalled batteries. View Battery recall FAQs.

IBM and Lenovo sold these Sony batteries in systems listed below between February 2005 and September 2006. Customers who bought one of the following systems may have a battery subject to this recall:

· ThinkPad R Series (R51e, R52, R60, R60e)
· ThinkPad T Series (T43, T43p, T60)
· ThinkPad X Series (X60, X60s)

Additionally, since these batteries can also be used with ThinkPad T4x Series or ThinkPad R5x Series systems, customers who ordered an extra battery or received a replacement battery for any ThinkPad T4x or ThinkPad R5x Series notebook PC between February 2005 and September 2006 may also have a battery subject to recall.

If your battery has been recalled, to continue using your ThinkPad notebook PC safely:

1. Turn off the system
2. Remove the battery
3. Power your system using an AC adapter

Lenovo apologizes for the inconvenience caused by this issue. Shipment of quality products always has been and continues to be the foremost concern

For the complete statement, see: www-307.ibm.com/pc/support/site.wss/document.do?sitestyle=lenovo&lndocid=BATT-LENOVO

For the Consumer Product Safety Commission statement, see: www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml06/06270.html