Chairwoman Maloney Seeks Information from Portable Generator Manufacturers on Failure to Adopt Safety Standards

Jun 29, 2022
Press Release
Portable Generators, Often Used During Extreme Weather, Cause Nearly 80 Deaths Per Year from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Washington, D.C. (June 29, 2022)—Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, sent letters to portable generator manufacturers Firman Power Equipment, Generac Power Systems, Champion Power Equipment, and DuroMax Power Equipment requesting information regarding the dangers posed by portable generators and whether the manufacturers are taking sufficient steps to mitigate potentially deadly carbon monoxide (CO) emissions from their products. 

 

“It is critical that manufacturers produce portable generators that are safe for consumers, including by fully implementing carbon monoxide mitigation measures, such as low-emission engines and automatic shut-off switches,” wrote Chairwoman Maloney to the manufacturers.  “The Committee is seeking to understand why your company has failed to adequately adopt industry-led standards, how your company plans to prevent putting your customers at risk in the future, and whether legislative reform is necessary to protect consumers.”

 

Portable generators cause nearly 80 deaths per year from CO poisoning.  Hurricane season began this month, and portable generators are often used during temporary power outages caused by extreme weather, including hurricanes.  These products caused more than a dozen deaths following recent hurricanes, including at least six deaths following Hurricane Ida and eight deaths following Hurricane Laura. 

 

In 2016, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to limit the CO emissions of portable generators.  However, this rule was never finalized.  In 2018, two voluntary standards were adopted for portable generators, limiting the CPSC’s ability to issue a mandatory rule. 

 

In February 2022, CPSC released a staff report finding that “currently there does not appear to be wide compliance” with either of the two voluntary standards to mitigate potentially deadly CO emissions and it is “uncertain whether there is likely to be wide compliance with either voluntary standard in the future.”  The report’s review of the portable generator market from September to October 2021 found that more than 75% of portable generator models fail to comply with either voluntary standard.

 

At least 75% of the portable generator models sold by each of the four companies that received letters from the Committee fail to comply with either voluntary standard, according to the CPSC staff report.

 

The Committee requested information regarding deaths or injuries from CO exposure related to these products, whether the manufacturers will adopt safety standards, and other information by July 13, 2022.

  

Click here to read the letter to Firman Power Equipment.

 

Click here to read the letter to Generac Power Systems.

 

Click here to read the letter to Champion Power Equipment.

 

Click here to read the letter to DuroMax Power Equipment.

 

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117th Congress