CPSC releases new carbon monoxide (CO) mortality report, urges generator safety at new PSA

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

WashingtonAnd the August 4, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) today released a new report on cases of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning associated with portable generators. The company also launched a new Public Service Advertisement (PSA) emphasizing the dangers of portable generators.

In its new report, Fatal Accidents Associated with Non-Fire Carbon Monoxide Poisoning from Engine-Powered Generators and Other Engine-Powered Tools 2011-2021, the CPSC estimates that approximately 85 consumers die in the United States each year from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by gasoline. portable generators. *The report also shows that African Americans are at greater risk, accounting for 23 percent of generator-related CO2 deaths, nearly double their estimated share of 13 percent of the US population.

Most generator deaths (81%) occur in residential locations. The CPSC study also found that the top three causes of generator use among the fatal accidents reported were weather-related power outages, power cuts, and attempts to provide power to temporary sites, such as cabins, campsites, and trailers.

CPSC PSA: A portable generator produces the same amount of carbon monoxide as hundreds of cars showing how portable gasoline-powered generators can create a CO2 poisoning hazard that can kill in minutes. PSA is also available in Spanish.

Carbon monoxide is called the invisible killer because it is colorless and odorless. Carbon monoxide poisoning from portable generators can happen so quickly that exposed people may pass out before symptoms of nausea, dizziness, or weakness are recognized.

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

Power Loss – Use Alternator Safely

  • Never operate a portable generator inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace, shed, or porch. Opening doors or windows will not provide sufficient ventilation to prevent the buildup of lethal levels of carbon dioxide.
  • Operate portable generators only outside, at least 20 feet from the house, and direct generator exhaust away from the house and any other buildings someone may enter, keeping windows and other openings closed in the generator’s exhaust path.
  • Verify that portable generators have been properly maintained, and read and follow the labels, instructions, and warnings on the generator and in the owner’s manual.
  • Look for portable generators that shut off automatically when there are high levels of carbon dioxide. Some models with CO2 shutdown have also reduced emissions. These models may or may not be advertised as certified according to the latest safety standards for portable generators – PGMA G300-2018 and UL 2201 – which are estimated to reduce deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning by 87% and 100%, respectively.

Carbon monoxide and smoke alarms save lives

  • Install battery-powered carbon monoxide alarms or carbon monoxide alarms with battery backup on each level and outside separate sleeping areas in the home.
  • Make sure smoke alarms are installed on every level and inside every bedroom in the house.
  • Test your carbon monoxide and smoke alarms monthly to make sure they are working properly, and replace batteries, if necessary. Don’t ignore an alarm when it beeps. Get out immediately. Then call 911.

Read more safety tips at the Carbon Monoxide Safety Center.

*Annual average number of fatal CO2 exposure-related deaths reported each year from 2017-2019, the last three full years of the full report (2011-2021). (Report/Table 3)


The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has a responsibility to protect 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 product-related accidents cost the nation more than 1 trillion dollars annually. CPSC’s work to ensure the safety of consumer products has contributed to a decrease in the rate of consumer product-related injuries over the past 50 years.

Federal law prohibits anyone from selling products that are subject to a commission order or voluntary recall in consultation with the CPSC.

For life-saving information:
– visit CPSC.Government.
– Subscribe to receive Email alerts.
– Follow us FacebookInstagram Tweet embed and Twitter Tweet embed.
– Report a dangerous product or product-related injury in www.SaferProducts.gov.
– a call CPSC’s Hotline at 800-638-2772 (TTY 301-595-7054).
– Call media specialist.

Version number: 22-198

US Consumer Product Safety Commission

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