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UL Publishes First Safety Standard for Portable Generators
Mar 5, 2009
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Underwriters Laboratories (UL) announced the publication of UL 2201, a Standard for Portable Engine-Generator Assemblies. Prior to the standard, UL says there was no voluntary safety standard for portable generators sold in the United States.

Portable generators offer an alternative source of electricity during temporary power outages and have become a vital tool during severe storm recovery. However, UL says, when not used properly or when used indoors, the devices may present potential safety risks to consumers, including carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from the toxic engine exhaust, electric shock or electrocution, and fire.

According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), the estimated number of portable generators in U.S. households grew from 9.2 million units in 2002 to 10.6 million units in 2005. The number of deaths associated with portable generators has increased annually since 1999. The CPSC reported at least 365 generator-related deaths between 1990 and 2005, many of them after a hurricane or other major storm.

UL performance requirements will permit safe outdoor use of UL-LISTED portable generators during storms or poor weather conditions, as well as require clear usage labels that may help reduce the known risks of CO poisoning and electrocution.

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