On Monday the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a final rule to specify that Christmas lights and other seasonal lighting products are considered a “substantial product hazard” because of fire and electrocution risks. The CPSC says that from 1980 to 2013, there were 258 deaths and 1,405 nonfatal incidents involving the decorative lighting that falls within the scope of the new rule.
The CPSC says that compliance with the UL 588 standard has contributed to a decline in injury risk relating to below-minimum wire size, insufficient strain relief, and lack of overcurrent protection. Therefore, the final rule incorporates UL language. Products that fit within the UL (and now the CPSC) definition of ‘‘seasonal and decorative lighting products” are “portable, plug-connected, temporary-use lighting products and accessories that have a nominal 120-volt input voltage rating.” In this case, “seasonal” means products that are designed to be used for three months (yes, Christmas lights count, even though many of us keep ours up until the snow melts in the spring).
The new regulation applies to light-up decorations such as wreaths, stars, candles, blow up and animated figures, tree toppers, electronic Christmas trees that are shorter than 30 inches, tree stands, controllers, and motorized decorative displays. ” Products that are either solar-powered or permanently connected to a power source are exempt. The new rule goes into effect in June.
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