John Cook, safety training specialist, of Fire
and Occupational Safety, provides the following information from The Hospital
Fire Marshals AssociationHFMA NEWS, for those planning on purchasing decorations
for use at home or at work.
Potentially Hazardous Icicle Lights
With the holiday season fast approaching, the safety
experts at Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) are notifying consumers and
merchandisers that certain "icicle," "curtain" or "Wonder
Lights" light strings manufactured in China may present a fire or shock
hazard. Sold under various names, these holiday light strings do not comply
with UL's safety requirements for such products and are not authorized to
bear the UL Mark.
UL's investigation has revealed that these light
strings have been available to consumers through retail outlets, department
stores, home centers, hobby and craft stores, drugstores, hardware stores,
catalogs, and shopping clubs. UL's evaluation of sample light strings indicates
the possibilities that live electrical parts could be exposed, which may
cause either a fire or shock hazard.
Sold individually in a string of 100 or 150 lights
or as a set of three or more light strings, these products can be identified
by a "splicing" connector. Located at the point where the individual
groups of lights hang down from the main wires, the splicing connector looks
similar to one of the light bulb sockets, with wires protruding from both
ends. Holographic UL Marks with "E127358", "E127901",
"E48723", "E64444", "E97593", "E115759",
"E65770" or "E127522", can be found on the products.
As these products do not meet UL's requirements,
the use of UL Marks on these products is not authorized. UL is concerned
that consumers may be misled into purchasing these light strings because
of the UL reference on the product.
While its investigation into other potential hazards
associated with these light strings continues, UL encourages consumers to
immediately discontinue using these products and return them to the place
of purchase. UL has established a toll-free number to help consumers verify
the validity of the UL Mark on products manufactured in China. Consumers
can call 1- 888-UL4-MARK (1-888-854-6275), Monday through Friday, between
the hours of 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., CDT.
Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) is
an independent, not-for-profit product safety testing and certification
organization that has tested products for public safety for more than a
century. Each year, more than 14 billion UL Marks are applied to products
worldwide. To obtain further safety information, visit UL's Web
site at www.ul.com.
Return to:Almanac, University of Pennsylvania, November
18 1997, Volume 44, No. 13