CPSC Publishes New Report on Carbon Monoxide (CO) Fatalities, Urges Generator Safety in New PSA

One portable generator can produce the same amount of carbon monoxide as hundreds of cars

WASHINGTON, Aug 4, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) released a new report today on deaths from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning related to portable generators. CPSC also launched a new public service announcement (PSA) highlighting the dangers of portable generators.

In its new report, Fatal Incidents Associated with Non-Fire Carbon Monoxide Poisoning from Engine-Driven Generators and Other Engine-Driven Tools 2011-2021, the CPSC estimates that approximately 85 consumers in the US die each year from CO poisoning caused by gasoline. -powered portable generators.* The report also shows that African Americans are at higher risk, responsible for 23 percent of generator-related CO deaths, nearly double their estimated 13 percent share of the US population.

Most deaths from generators (81%) occur in residential locations. The CPSC investigation also found that the top three reasons for generator use in the reported fatalities were weather-related power outages, power outages, and attempts to supply power to temporary locations such as cabins, RVs and trailers.

CPSC PSA: One portable generator produces the same amount of carbon monoxide as hundreds of cars. This illustrates how portable gasoline-powered generators can pose a risk of CO poisoning that can be fatal within 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 happen so quickly that exposed individuals become unconscious before recognizing the symptoms of nausea, dizziness or weakness.

Consumers who plan to use a portable generator during a power outage should follow these tips:

Power Outage—Using a Generator Safely

  • Never use a portable generator in a house, garage, basement, crawl space, shed, or porch. Opening doors or windows will not provide adequate ventilation to prevent the build-up of deadly levels of CO.
  • Operate portable generators only outdoors, at least 6 meters away from the house, and direct the generator exhaust away from the house and other buildings where someone can get in, 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 turn off automatically when high levels of CO are present. Some models with CO shut-off also have lower emissions. These models may or may not be advertised as certified to the latest portable generator safety standards – PGMA G300-2018 and UL 2201 – which are estimated to reduce deaths from CO poisoning by 87% and 100%, respectively.

Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors save lives

  • Install battery-operated carbon monoxide or battery-backed carbon monoxide alarms on every floor and outside of separate sleeping areas in the house.
  • Make sure smoke detectors are installed on every level and in every bedroom in the house.
  • Test carbon monoxide and smoke alarms monthly to ensure they are working properly and replace the batteries if necessary. Never ignore an alarm when it goes off. 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 deaths from CO exposure per year associated with generators from 2017-2019, the last three full years of the full report (2011-2021). (Report/Table 3)


About the US CPSC
The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from undue risk of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products. Deaths, injuries and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the country more than $1 trillion annual. CPSC’s work to ensure the safety of consumer products has contributed to a decrease in the number of injuries related to consumer products over the past 50 years.

Federal law prohibits individuals from selling products that are subject to a Commission-ordered recall or a voluntary recall conducted in coordination with the CPSC.

For life-saving information:
– Visit CPSC.government.
– Sign up to our . receive email alerts.
– Follow us on facebookInstagram @USCPSC and Twitter @USCPSC.
– Report a hazardous product or product-related injury www.SaferProducts.gov.
– Telephone 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

Leave a Reply