A portable generator can produce the same amount of carbon monoxide as hundreds of cars
WASHINGTON, August 4, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) today released a new report on deaths from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning related to portable generators. CPSC has also issued a new Public Notice (PSA) that underscores the dangers of portable generators.
In its new Fatal Incidents Associated with Non-Fire Carbon Monoxide Poisoning from Engine-Driven Generators and Other Engine-Driven Tools 2011-2021 report, CPSC estimates that about 85 consumers die each year in the United States from CO poisoning caused by gasoline-powered devices is caused by portable generators.* The report also shows that African Americans are at higher risk, being responsible for 23 percent of generator-related CO deaths, nearly double their estimated 13 percent of the US population.
Most generator fatalities (81%) occur in residential areas. The CPSC study also found that the top three reasons for using a generator among reported fatal incidents were weather-related power outages, power outages, and attempts to power temporary locations such as cabins, RVs, and trailers.
CPSC PSA: One Portable Generator Produces the Same Amount of Carbon Monoxide as Hundreds of Cars demonstrates how gasoline-powered portable generators can create a risk of CO poisoning that can be fatal in minutes. The PSA is also available in Spanish.
CO is called the invisible killer because it is colorless and odorless. CO poisoning from portable generators can occur so rapidly that exposed individuals fall unconscious before noticing symptoms of nausea, dizziness, or weakness.
Consumers who want to use a portable generator during a power outage should consider these tips:
Power Outage – Safe handling of a generator
- Never operate a portable generator inside a home, garage, basement, crawl space, shed, or on the porch. Opening doors or windows does not provide enough ventilation to prevent deadly levels of CO from building up.
- Operate portable generators only outdoors, at least 20 feet from home, and direct generator exhaust away from homes and other structures where anyone may enter while keeping windows and other openings in the generator exhaust path closed.
- Verify that portable generators have been properly maintained and read and follow labels, instructions, and warnings on the generator and in the owner’s manual.
- Look for portable generators that automatically shut down when high levels of CO are present. Some CO shut-off models also have reduced emissions. These models can be advertised with or without certification to the latest portable generator safety standards – PGMA G300-2018 and UL 2201 – which are estimated to reduce CO poisoning deaths by 87% and 100% respectively.
CO and smoke detectors save lives
- Install battery operated or battery backed CO alarms on each level and outside of separate sleeping areas in the home.
- Make sure smoke alarms are installed on every level and in every bedroom at home.
- Test CO and smoke alarms monthly to ensure they are working properly and replace batteries if necessary. Never ignore an alarm when it sounds. Go outside immediately. Then call 911.
Read more safety tips in our Carbon Monoxide Safety Center.
*Annual average for the number of reported non-fire CO fatalities associated with generators each year from 2017 to 2019, the last three full years of the full report (2011 to 2021). (Report/Table 3)
About the US CPSC
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is tasked with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products. Deaths, injuries and property damage from consumer goods-related incidents cost the nation more than 1 trillion dollars yearly. CPSC’s work to ensure consumer product safety has contributed to a decline in the rate of consumer product-related injuries over the past 50 years.
Federal law prohibits any person from selling any product that is subject to a commission-ordered recall or a voluntary recall conducted in consultation with the CPSC.
For life saving information:
– Visit CPSC.reg.
– Sign up to receive ours Email Notifications.
– Follow us on FacebookInstagram @USCPSC and Twitter @USCPSC.
– Report a dangerous product or product-related injury www.SaferProducts.gov.
– Phone call CPSCs Hotline at 800-638-2772 (TTY 301-595-7054).
– Contact a media specialist.
Release number: 22-198
SOURCE US Consumer Product Safety Commission