Proposed federal CO law would affect 'manufacturers, dealers and distributors'

Thursday, December 4, 2008

WASHINGTON--The industry is taking a hard look at proposed federal legislation that would impose stricter standards on CO detectors and would affect "manufacturers, dealers and distributors," according to Richard Roberts, industry affairs manager for System Sensor.
Called the "Residential Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act," S.3660 is sponsored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who has promoted the bill in a series of press conferences and media appearances over the last month.
"I think it's a good start," Roberts said. "According to the Senator, when Congress reconvenes next year, they'll take the issue up again. It definitely has some good stuff in it. It encourages and promotes the purchase and installation of CO detectors and authorizes a grant program that would train fire code enforcement officials on the installation of detectors."
Roberts does have some concerns about the bill, however. Currently, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has voluntary standards for CO detectors set by Underwriters Laboratories. This legislation would make those UL standards mandatory for all CO detectors sold in the United States. While the intent is good, he said, this brings up questions of certification requirements that could, potentially, be burdensome to manufacturers, distributors and dealers.
Legislation mandating the installation of CO detectors in homes and businesses has proliferated in the past few years. Seventeen states now have laws and at least two have laws pending. Activity on this issue has been confined to state legislatures until now.
The National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association is monitoring this bill said NBFAA lobbyist John Chwat, "It's on our radar for next year," Chwat said, noting that the bill is a departure: "it's an all-encompassing federal approach to [standards governing CO detection mandates] from a consumer-protection point of view."
Roberts said System Sensor representatives have spoken with industry trade associations and the company intends to "build a coalition and go in and meet with the Senator early next year to iron out issues we may have."