Information Bulletin Number 0701001

New Danger Label Required on All Portable Generators

Release #07-074
CPSC Recall Hotline: (800) 638-2772
CPSC Media Contacts: Julie Vallese or Patty Davis, (301)504-7908

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) voted unanimously (2-0) today to require manufacturers of portable generators to warn consumers of carbon monoxide (CO) hazards through a new "Danger" label. The label states that, "Using a generator indoors CAN KILL YOU IN MINUTES."

Manufacturers will be required to place the "Danger" label on all new generators and the generators' packaging. The label warns consumers that a generator's exhaust contains carbon monoxide, a poison that cannot be seen and has no odor, and that generators should never be used inside homes or garages, even if doors and windows are open.

The death toll from CO associated with generators has been steadily rising in recent years. At least 64 people died in 2005 from generator-related CO poisoning. Many of the deaths occurred after hurricanes and major storms. CPSC staff is aware through police, medical examiner and news reports of at least 32 CO deaths related to portable generators from October 1 through December 31, 2006. "These deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning are preventable," said Acting CPSC Chairman Nancy Nord. "The warning labels are meant to stop consumers before they make what could be a fatal mistake." Generators should be used outdoors only, far from windows, doors and vents. The CO produced by one generator is equal to the CO produced by hundreds of running cars. It can incapacitate and kill consumers within minutes.

The new "Danger" label requirements for generators manufactured or imported will take effect 120 days after the regulation is published in the Federal Register.

In a separate action last month, the Commission began rulemaking to address safety hazards with generators by approving an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR). The Commission directed staff to investigate various strategies to reduce consumers' exposure to CO and to enable and encourage them to use generators outdoors only. Those strategies include generator engines with substantially reduced CO emissions, interlocking or automatic shutoff devices, weatherization requirements, theft deterrence and noise reduction.

To see this release on CPSC's web site, including pictures of the danger labels and statements from the Commission, please go to: