Nelson: New generator labels will save lives
May 24, 2006
WASHINGTON – With the start of hurricane season just a week away, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson lauded today’s unveiling of new generator warning labels aimed at protecting consumers from injuries and deaths caused by carbon monoxide poisoning.
In a letter sent today to Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Chairman Hal Stratton, Nelson said the move to update generator safety labels could save many lives. “This is a key step towards reducing the number of deaths associated with portable generator use,” Nelson wrote.
It was Nelson who, late last year, criticized the CPSC for failing to enact mandatory safety standards for portable generators. At the time Nelson chided the agency for ignoring alarming increases in deaths caused by generator use and for failing to heed its own experts’ advice. A staff review undertaken by the commission in 2003 recommended the use of conspicuous labels to better inform the public of the threat posed by using generators indoors or in poorly ventilated areas.
The commission’s inaction prompted Nelson to file legislation in December requiring warning labels on generators and emergency shut-off devices. Nelson said he still wants the commission to require the use of emergency switches that shut off generators when carbon monoxide levels reach dangerous levels.
The new generator warning label unveiled today by the commission contains an ominous warning to consumers: “Using a generator indoors WILL KILL YOU IN MINUTES.” The improved labels will appear on newly manufactured generators that receive Underwriters Laboratories (UL) certification. Giant retailers, Wal-Mart and Home Depot have also planned generator displays highlighting the new labels.