Arlington, VA – More than one million counterfeit electrical products, including extension cords, power strips, batteries, and hair dryers, have been recalled in recent years. Every day, these products are finding their way into our homes, businesses, and public institutions. These fraudulent items pose significant safety hazards, and if left undetected can cause deaths, injuries and substantial property loss in the home and the workplace.
The recently released U.S. Customs and Border Protection annual report lists the value of all seized counterfeit and pirated products for the year ending September 30, 2008 as nearly $273 million, a 38 percent overall increase and a 43 percent increase in seizures of counterfeit electrical products from 2007.
May is National Electrical Safety Month, and the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) has officially launched its Buyer Beware Anti-Counterfeiting Campaign to warn consumers and communities about the dangers that these hazardous products can cause.
Counterfeit electrical products can be difficult to spot. They can be knock-off versions of brand name products or items that bear an unauthorized certification marking, and may be manufactured without key components or compliance with relevant safety standards in order to save money.
To help raise awareness, ESFI is offering consumers the following safety tips for recognizing and protecting against dangerous and defective counterfeit electrical products:
- Look for the CSA, UL or ETL-SEMKO certification marks. If you have concerns about the marks, contact the certifier.
- Beware of bargains that seem too good to be true. Products may be cheap because they are counterfeit or defective.
- Use established vendors who purchase their goods from legitimate distributors and genuine manufacturers.
- Check the warning label. It should be free of grammatical errors and should not conflict with information found elsewhere on the package.
- Look for the name and contact information of the manufacturer. If this information is missing, consider purchasing electrical products elsewhere.
- Avoid no-name products that lack brand affiliation.
- Be proactive. Organizations such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Underwriters Laboratories (UL) provide information about product recalls on their websites.
By working together to promote education and awareness, we can help to prevent the devastating injuries, fatalities, and fires that are being caused by counterfeit electrical products.
For more details about how to combat counterfeiting and other electrical safety information, visit the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) website at www.electrical-safety.org
The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI)
is the premier 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to preventing electrically-related fires, injuries, and fatalities in the home and the workplace. Established in 1994 by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, and Underwriters Laboratories, ESFI is highly regarded by industry, media, and consumer safety partners as a leading authority on electrical safety issues.
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