Portable Generators: Oral Presentations on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking – Panel 2

Portable Generators: Oral Presentations on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking – Panel 2


CHAIR BUERKLE: Welcome back this
afternoon to this public meeting of the United States Consumer
Products Commission. The hearing that we began
this morning will now resume. Just a reminder from this morning that we — we convene these public meetings pursuant
to our statute to solicit public comment on CPSC’s notice of proposed rulemaking
concerning portable generators. We have two panels. We have heard from the first panel this
morning and now we are going to hear from the second panel this afternoon. CHAIR BUERKLE: On the panel this afternoon,
we are pleased to have Mr. Joe Moses, Generac Power Systems; Mr. Gordon
Selby Johnson, Jr., an attorney; Mr. Tim Shively from Fireboy-Xintex, Inc. ; Mr. Antonio Santos, Manufacturers of Emission
Controls Association; and Mr. Albert Donnay, consulting detoxicologist, environmental
health engineer and carbon monoxide analyst. I want to thank all of you, on behalf of
myself and my colleagues for joining us today. We really do appreciate you taking
the time and the effort to get here and to share your expertise with us. Again, each of the panelists will go
ahead and speak for up to 10 minutes, and once you all have concluded your
testimony, I will turn to the commissioners for two five-minute rounds of questions. With that, Mr. Moses, you
may begin and I thank you. MR. MOSES: Thank you. Good afternoon. My name is Joe Moses. I am the vice president of global product
engineering for Generac Power Systems. Commissioners, thank you for allowing me
and Generac Power Systems the opportunity to submit testimony to the
Commission regarding the notice of proposed rulemaking on portable generators. This is a very important issue that I can
assure you Generac is committed to solve. Generac is a leading manufacturer of
portable generators here in the United States and we have the broadest and
most diverse product line up of portable generators in the industry. We presently have over 100 unique
portable generator products, ranging in power from 800
watts to 17.5 kilowatts. Our products are designed and optimized for
multiple consumer uses, including recreation, general purpose, emergency
backup and construction. We produce portable generators that can
be fueled by a broad range of fuels, including gasoline, liquid propane and diesel. Generac has been an active member of the
Portable Generator Manufacturers Association, PGMA, since the organization
was founded in 2009. Generac joined PGMA because we believe very
strongly in the mission of PGMA, to develop and influence safety and performance
standards for portable generators. We are committed to continuously
improving the safety of our products. Generac’s engineering team has been
actively working to develop product solutions and standards that address this issue. Have explored multiple solution options, such
as reduced emissions strategies and detection. Prototypes have been built and tested
in multiple operational scenarios. We have been contributing many of the results of
these efforts to the PGMA technical committee, in the hopes that PGMA would be able to complete
the revision of G300 as quickly as possible. We believe that PGMA has made great
progress towards the standard revision in a very short period of time. Generac supports PGMA’s approach
towards addressing the hazard. Given PGMA’s demonstrated progress toward
the development of a voluntary standard, we request that the Commission
defer the rulemaking activities to allow PGMA the time needed to
complete their standard-making process. We appreciate the work CPSC staff
has done to prepare the NPR. Although we are still waiting for the release
of additional important information, the studies and tests that were published as NIST technical
notes and content models have been instrumental for Generac and other manufacturers
to compare the impact of detection versus the various emissions reductions. Generac is in support of the
detection-based approach and believes that it will offer superior
results when compared to the reduced emissions strategy
that is outlined in the NPR. We believe that detection
has significant advantages over the emissions reductions
outlined in the NPR. These advantages include more life saving. Modeling and testing to date, comparing shutoff
versus emissions reductions are indicating that nearly twice as many deaths could
have been avoided with a shutoff approach. This conclusion is preliminarily based on the
data and models that have already been supplied from NIST through the FOIA
request, comparing a shutoff to reduced emissions levels
consistent with the NPR requirements. With additional testing and modeling, we expect to show that the shutoff
approach is a superior method to reduce the risks from the CO hazard. In order to complete this activity, we need
the second FOIA request to be fulfilled. Hazard elimination. Detection offers the advantage of being able
to stop the hazardous condition altogether by shutting the generator off before
the CO levels become potentially fatal. Alerting the consumer. The shutoff system offers
the advantage of enunciation. When the system recognizes a hazardous
condition, not only is it possible to stop the generation of harmful CO, but
it is also possible to provide an audible or visible alert to the occupants, making
them aware of the hazardous condition and notifying them to take appropriate action. Universal application. The shutoff system is scaleable. This type of system can be applied
to all types of portable generators, regardless of size or intended purpose. Generac has tested prototype shutoff systems
and is able to achieve similar results on small, handheld generators, liquefied
propane generators, diesel generators and very large V-twin sized engine generators. Emissions control systems are not available for
and cannot be applied to all types and sizes of the commercially available generators today. No fuel source restrictions. The shutoff system does not
discriminate fuel type or source. As a result, the shutoff system will
apply to all fuels that are used for portable generators,
both now and in the future. Today, there are no known
emissions control systems that would allow the reduced CO thresholds
to be met for many of these fuel types and it is unclear what impact there would
be as fuel blends evolve in the future. Faster implementation. The shutoff system can be
implemented much faster implementation. The shutoff system can be implemented
much faster on product lines than the emissions reductions
suggested by the NPR. Our testing has already indicated that it will
be possible to develop a single shutoff system that can be deployed on multiple
generator models very easily. Emissions controls and catalysts would
require complete redevelopment of the system for every engine, consuming
far more resources and time. Generac’s product portfolio currently
contains more than 25 unique engines. Retroactive application. We believe it will be possible to
develop shutoff system accessories that consumers could purchase and
apply to their existing generators. Generators used for general purpose and
home backup scenarios can be expected to have service lives of more than 10 years. Our estimates also indicate there are more than 10 million portable generators
currently owned by consumers. Reliability concerns associated with
emissions control and catalyst systems need to be understood and addressed
as part of this NPR. Staff has been critical of the shutdown approach
due to reliability concerns, but the same level of expectations have not been applied to the
low CO emissions controls and catalyst systems. Reliability concerns must be considered
as part of any rule or standard relating to either a detection or
reduced CO emissions strategy. The design choices that are
commonly made by designers of engines and emissions control systems
can have dramatic impacts on the emissions rates under various conditions. Likewise, catalyst reliability is also a
source for concern and must be addressed. There have been several documented
studies and field reports that support the reliability concern. Some of these concerns include
cold startup engine choking logic, which typically runs the engine rich;
wide temperature range ECU map values in cold start conditions; operation at elevated
altitudes; transient conditions that result from load changes on the engine,
emissions control systems typically default to open loop operation when input conditions
are outside of their preprogrammed maps; the effects of engine wear over the life
of the generator; catalyst degradation and contamination; oil carryover into the
catalyst that can result from operator misuse or early engine failure; system mechanical
vibration and jarring of the catalyst and oxygen sensor; thermal stresses that
degrade or destroy catalyst operation. More detail and specific case studies
illustrating these reliability concerns will be highlighted in our complete NPR comments
before the end of the comment period. Generac also has many concerns related
to potential unintended consequences that we foresee with a reduction of
emissions, as proposed by the NPR. Consumers may mistakenly believe that
reduced emissions means it is safe to operate the generators indoors. It will never be safe to
operate a generator indoors. The proposed rule is based on the premise that
the occupants will become aware of the hazard and take appropriate steps to
remove themselves from the hazard. There is no basis to support this premise. The significant cost increases to consumers
that will result from this ruling could lead to consumers identifying ways of extending
the service life of their existing generators and potential refurbishment programs. This activity was seen recently
with the EPA Tier IV regulations for nonroad diesel products became active. This could significantly delay
the benefits from a rule, beyond the already long operating
lives of these products. Generac has been and will remain committed to
developing the best solution to this hazard. We believe that the solution is
a CO detection and shutoff system for the reasons expressed here today. As our development about the ANSI G300
standard revision and product designs continue to progress, we feel that this
will become even more evident. We ask that the Commission consider a suspension
of the rulemaking process to allow us the time to continue working with PGMA
and others to fully develop and complete the revision to ANSI G300. These activities have made great progress
to date and Generac offers its assurances that we will continue to drive forward
with the same energy and commitment in order to complete the process quickly. Suspending the rulemaking would
allow us to share our efforts and avoid the unnecessary duplication of
efforts that has been slowing progress to date. We welcome input from CPSC staff on the
approach we are taking and are looking forward to working together through the
PGMA technical summit activities. We will be providing more detailed
comments through the NPR comment process as we get closer to the deadline in April. We have several commercial and
technical concerns with the proposed rule that were not outlined in our testimony today. It is our hope that the FOIA request PGMA has
outstanding will be fulfilled in short order so that we will have adequate time to
perform the remaining modeling analysis and may represent the results in our comments. Thank you for allowing me to represent
Generac here today to share our thoughts. CHAIR BUERKLE: Thank you, Mr. Moses. Mr. Johnson. MR. JOHNSON: Yes. I’m going to start by reading a news story. Nine hospitalized in Alaska
after carbon monoxide exposure. Dateline, March 7, 8:11 p.m. That’s last night. It’s on the monitors. The story begins, Anchorage, nine
people in a small Alaska town of Houston have been hospitalized after
being exposed to carbon monoxide in a home. The Houston Fire Chief, Christian Hartley, says
the Monday night incident occurred at a home that had a generator running in the basement. And this is, perhaps as significant as the
fact there’s a generator is the next paragraph. Hartley says a resident had left
the home because of a headache and went to the home of a friend. He says that the two went back to the affected
home and dragged the other people out. This is happening within
hours of us convening today. Who am I? My name is Gordon Johnson. I am a personal injury lawyer. That means I represent plaintiffs in
situations like what might have happened here. I’m also a brain injury attorney. I have been doing nothing but brain
injury representation since 1994. I’m also a carbon monoxide attorney. And the reason is that the most significant
aspect of a carbon monoxide poisoning for those who survive is brain damage. I currently represent in excess of 80
people in carbon monoxide poisoning cases. The reason the numbers are so high is that in
many of the cases were see with carbon monoxide, there are multiple people exposed. One of the cases I’m involved in is a case where
there were four generators set up inside — at a wedding inside, and more
than 300 people were poisoned in that event, over 100 taken to the hospital. I’m also involved in two
large-scale school poisonings, a bank poisoning and I’ve done some hotel cases. I want to focus my testimony on three things. The first is why is it the statistics
that we have, as scary as they are, as scary as this story is,
understate the impact of this — the degree of carbon monoxide poisoning. And when I talk about carbon monoxide poisoning,
what we are doing here is we are trying to reduce the amount of carbon
monoxide which, by definition, reduces the number and the
severity of poisonings. I also want to focus on the impact
that this regulation would have on what the general category of
chronic carbon monoxide poisoning, which did come up this morning. And another issue which came up this
morning, which is the full economic and societal impact of carbon
monoxide poisoning. Why are the statistics, the scary statistics
in your numbers, why are they underestimated? They’re underestimated for the same reason that
instead of having nine people with a headache in this Anchorage story today, there
are all these people hospitalized. Because when you get the first symptoms
of carbon monoxide, it’s nonspecific. The body is a carbon monoxide
detector, but it’s not a very clear one. We get the same symptoms we have with flu, we get the same symptoms we
might have with food poisoning. I had clients who were in a hotel and
thought they had food poisoning and, of course, went to sleep. Fortunately, they did wake up the
next morning, but severely poisoned. So the first problem is that the patients,
the people who are getting poisoned, don’t realize it because it’s
so similar to other things. And the other things are the kind of
things that you might just lay down and hope you feel better in the morning. Well, if it’s a severe poisoning,
they don’t wake up in the morning. The other reason is that the medical
people don’t recognize it either. When they get to the ER, I would
estimate that three quarters of the people who have carbon monoxide
poisoning never have blood drawn. They never are told by the medical
people that they have been poisoned. I know this not statistically but I know it
from my own experience of talking to hundreds of people with carbon monoxide poisoning. Most of the time when they go to the hospital,
if there isn’t some connection to an event, like in Madison where they came
in on buses, they are not — the medical people just don’t think that. If it’s in the middle of the
winter and they’ve had a rush — a rash of these things, maybe they will. But most of the time, it’s too nonspecific. Often, even when they know it’s carbon monoxide
poisoning, they don’t do the right things. Rarely is there a referral
for hyperbaric oxygen, which I believe statistically makes
a difference in almost all outcomes. The second area is, we’re talking here now
about a reduction, perhaps 90 percent — I think your testing showed 93 percent — in
the marine area, which may not be feasible, for smaller generators it’s 99 percent. Is that going to make a difference? Well, one category it clearly will
make a difference is those people who have the chronic exposures. You could chronically get exposed
to a generator that was too close to your house, day after day, day after day. These utility situations
would be a good example. But the thing about most chronic
exposures is they’re not so severe that they set off the carbon monoxide detector
in the body and say, we have something happen. Those poisonings can be very severe because
they happen again and again and again. They’re not likely to ever get
severe enough in this situation, because the levels would
be 10 percent of something that wasn’t clinically recognizable
as carbon monoxide poisoning. That’s probably de minimis. We may hear some people who disagree with that, but I’m very familiar with
the research in this field. I basically cross-examine expert
witnesses and doctors, neuropsychologists, engineers as my primary living and generally
it’s if these levels are well below 10 percent, they’re probably not going to be significant. They may have some issues
but it’s not likely to be. I would analogize it to the
situation that we have in football. The subconcussive hits in a career of
playing football can wind up to be CTE, but you’re not going to have a
career of those kind of blows if you drop the carbon monoxide
emissions by 90-some percent. It’s just not going to get to be
severe enough to make a difference. The final area, which is an area
that was touched on earlier today which I probably have more experience with
anyone else on the panel with is putting into economic and societal terms the
impact of a carbon monoxide poisoning. In all of our cases, our duty
representing our clients is to put economic numbers on the impact. None of the people I represent died. Very few of them have carboxyhemoglobin
levels above 30. Yet in almost every one of those cases, there
is an economic impact that would include at a minimum a shortened work life
expectancy but also an inability to function independently in the world. It’s in many ways like we suddenly
turned young children, productive adults, into people late in life who need
supportive care to get through day to day. And the reason for that is carbon monoxide
does much more than impact cognition. We can measure its effect on cognition but,
like other brain injury, it impacts mood, it impacts behavior, it impacts
the way the body functions, neurological system functions,
the heart and the other organs. The areas in between those
functions, the gray area — it’s not just the gray/white matter junction,
it’s the junction between cognition and mood, the junction between mood and behavior. These are the areas that are most difficult
to quantify but have the greatest impact. And in many ways, the only way to
really take care of the survivor is to provide human assistance from another person. Careers are likely, in many cases, are affected
because even if the cognition is there, the ability to get along with coworkers, the
ability to control yourself, the ability to try to keep your remarks to 10 minutes is gone. The ability to plan, the ability to initiate. Those things have a much larger
impact than just the economic cost of a shortened work life expectancy. A couple of quick points in rebuttal. There’s a lot of talk here about now we’re
going to do this, now we’re going to do that. I’m pretty sure when I read the materials for this proposed regulation
that this goes back 10 years. Why, if the industry was going to make a
difference, did it not make a difference over those 10 years of the 75
average people per year who died and the 25,000 total people
we know were hospitalized, and likely another 25,000
or 50,000 more impacted? The industry has had a long time to do it. As trial lawyers, we make a difference too. But we can’t do it alone. We need your help. We need this commission to establish clear
regulations that will make the world safer. Thank you. CHAIR BUERKLE: Thank you very much, Mr. Johnson. Mr. Shively. Excuse me one second before you begin. Are there any members of the
— panelists who are doctors? I failed this morning. Mr. Dunn is actually a doctor of law. MR. JOHNSON: Yeah, Dr. Weaver is
available this afternoon if you need to have any further questions of him. CHAIR BUERKLE: Thank you, no. In terms of protocol and the proper
Ph.D. versus M.D. But I just want to make sure I’m addressing everyone properly. Mr. Shively, you may continue. MR. SHIVELY: Good afternoon. Thank you for having me kind
of give you a perspective from a carbon monoxide detector
manufacturer’s point of view. Fireboy-Xintex has been manufacturing
safety products for over 30 years. We manufacture fire suppression, fire
detection, all sorts of gas detection. You know, we make gasoline
detectors, we make propane detectors. And obviously today, we’re talking
about carbon monoxide detectors. And I wanted to — to share with you a little
bit of what technology is out there and some of the applications that we
have used the detectors in. We primarily are in the marine industry. So there was some comments made
earlier on about the marine industry. And unfortunately, there’s not a lot of
statistics to support decision-making. However, I can say that there
are several things. A portable generator, for instance, is a — you
know, it’s a unit that is running on its own and it has vibration and it
has a lot of different things. Our products have been certified
under UL 2034, which is a residential, single and multiple alarm detection system. But then we take it to another level, and that is that we also certify
it to the marine standard. And the marine standard is
a bit more rigorous testing. It’s exposed to extreme temperatures,
shock and vibration. There’s a water resistance test, a splash test. And the net result is you end up with a
fairly durable, reliable product compared to an off-the-shelf residential unit that a lot
of people think that they would like to use. So, you know, in our years
of service, back in 2005, a very large recreational boat manufacturer
came to us and, you know, had requested, because they were having some trouble
with CO issues on boats that they provided with a generator, where the generator
is mounted in the engine room. We developed a CO detector with
basically the relay shutdown feature. And so what happens is the
CO detector is located in the salon area or the
living area of the boat. And if the levels, because of station wagon
effect, and a lot of other things that happen on boats, reaches to the alarm point,
then what would happen is that our unit, as it went into alarm, would
also shut down the generator. So we have been building that unit since ’05,
you know, tens of thousands of boats out there, not all of them with the shutdown but most of
them with a CO detector of one type or another. And so that’s one application where the
shutdown feature has been used for many years. Another one is at the beginning of the wars in
Iraq and Afghanistan, we had a tent supplier who supplies tents for medical reasons
for, you know, the U.S. Army purposes. They actually purchased our CO detector. And what they did is they mounted
them onboard their generator. And they also used our shutdown feature which,
if the CO level would rise, then it would shut down the generator or the source of the
CO. So those are a couple of applications where we have been using that technology
and shutting down generators for many years. And, you know, we don’t have specific, you
know, statistics to say how many lives saved or how many incidences where it
actually, you know, proved worthy. But we believe that, through the years, that
we have saved lives as a result of that. We used, in those designs for those
applications, the actual CO sensor that we used was a metal oxide type. And, you know, metal oxide is an okay sensor. However, it is susceptible to certain
things that, with an electrochemical sensor, the new model that we just came out with, we
did an evaluation of the latest metal oxide and we compared that to electrochemical, and we believe the electrochemical sensor
is a far superior sensor, improved accuracy, less susceptible to contamination. And contamination is a big thing. If you had a metal oxide sensor sitting
in a garage and it’s exposed to ammonias and it’s exposed to, you know,
varnish and those type of things, it will absolutely kill the sensor. And in the case of if it’s — you know, I
actually was painting or varnishing in my boat and the CO detector that I had, I left it in
there on purpose, took it back to the factory and what happens is it completely glazed over
and basically would not sense CO whatsoever. It won’t false alarm. It doesn’t give you a premature
alarm; it simply doesn’t work. So when we developed our new CO
detector, we chose the electrochemical. That was one of the main reasons. That sensor is also stable in
different humidity changes. So if you have high humidity, low
humidity, different temperature ranges. And it’s really unaffected from those type of
normal environmental changes that happened. And the other thing about the electrochemical
is that there’s really no warm-up period, that once it’s powered, it’s ready
to go and it’s sensing accurately. With that technology, it has also allowed us
to come out with a battery powered only unit, so therefore you don’t have to rely on
a source of power from the generator. You can have power all the
time, so it’s always sensing. And so during that startup
period, it would be sensing. And because of the technology of the
sensor, it will last seven to 10 years, and that’s maintenance free,
without having to change batteries. So, you know, we just really believe
that it is a superior product, and that’s what we have incorporated
into our new marine — it will be residential, marine
and RV CO detector. You know, currently we have been in discussions
with a portable generator manufacturer and we did a very — we basically designed
a variation of the true UL 2034 unit. However, it alarms at the same kind of
levels, so if the CO level gets to a point where it’s going to harm someone,
that we can shut down the generator. It would be an onboard mounted
unit, it would be water resistant. We have a way, through software, of
determining if it’s being used inside or out, so it’s going to get away from false shutdowns
when it’s outside and it happens to get a shift of wind that runs — you know, that
blows a plume of CO across the sensor. So, you know, in conclusion, as that
story that he just read about Alaska, two and a half weeks ago, one hour from where
our manufacturing facility is in Grand Rapids, Michigan, an 11-year-old girl died. Both parents are still in critical
condition and being treated for CO poisoning. And what happened is that they were — their power was shut down and they were
operating a portable generator in the garage of the basically facility
where they were living, which was actually a commercial facility. But unfortunately, that 11-year-old
girl is no longer with us. I believe that if you had a CO detector
on board that would have identified that there was high CO levels and you would
have shut down that generator that, you know, perhaps that young lady could be with us today. So, you know, we really believe that, you
know, it’s a technically viable solution, that it’s a relatively simple installation. It is field retrofittable. It’s a very cost-effective solution. In high volumes, we could
be looking at less than $20. And we believe at the end of the day that
shutting down generators will save lives. CHAIR BUERKLE: Thank you very much, Mr. Shively. Mr. Santos. MR. SANTOS: Thank you. Hi, my name is Antonio Santos. I am the director of special projects at the
Manufacturers of Emission Controls Association. Thank you for the opportunity today to come
before you to provide oral comments in support of the U.S. Consumer Products Safety
Commission’s proposed rulemaking to limit carbon monoxide emissions
from operating portable generators. We thank CPSC for its efforts to
develop a comprehensive proposal that effectively addresses
the risk of injury associated with CO poisoning from portable generators. We believe the Commission’s
recommended maximum CO emission rates for portable generators are reasonable and
can be met through the use of a variety of readily available technologies, including
electronic fuel injection, closed loop control and three-way catalyst technology. MECA is a nonprofit association of
the world’s leading manufacturers of emission control technology
for mobile sources. Our members have over 40 years of experience
and a proven track record in developing and manufacturing emission control
technology for a wide variety of on-road and off-road vehicles and
equipment, including fuel injectors, oxygen sensors for closed loop
control and catalyst technology. In addition, our members have over 20 years of
experience in the safe application of catalysts to a wide variety of on-road and off-road,
small displacement, spark-ignited engines like those used in portable generators. MECA commends CPSC staff for its thorough
technical work conducted in support of the proposed rulemaking, including staff’s
two-part technology demonstration program, staff’s assessment of feasible CO rates based
upon the EPA’s 2006 technology demonstration program for non-road SI engines, and
staff’s testing of fuel-injected generators. Based on this extensive analysis,
CPSC’s staff concluded and MECA aggress that significant reductions
in the CO emission rates of portable generators are technically feasible
for each of the designated generator categories. Specifically, CPSC’s analysis found that
existing emission control technology, namely closed loop electronic fuel injection,
engine calibration and a small catalyst, can be applied to the engines
that power portable generators to significantly reduce their CO emission
rate to a level that is expected to result in fewer deaths and injuries when used in
scenarios that currently cause fatalities. MECA believes the levels of the maximum
CO emission rates proposed by CPSC for the four designated generator
categories are reasonable and can be met within the proposed time frames for compliance. In testing conducted at Southwest Research
Institute over 10 years ago, carbureted Class I and Class II non-road, spark-ignited
engines 19 kilowatts and below with installed catalysts showed significant
reductions in criteria pollutants with reductions ranging from 50 to 70
percent for CO and 60 to 80 percent for HC — hydrocarbons, plus NOx, oxides of nitrogen. MECA member companies have been
developing both precious metal and less expensive base metal
catalyst technology for effectively reducing CO.
The CO reduction performance of these cost effective catalyst solutions can
be further enhanced through the combined use of fuel injection and closed
loop air fuel control. Recent testing by MECA member companies on
small spark-ignited engines used a combination of electronic fuel injection and catalyst
technology, have demonstrated an 80 to 90 percent reduction in CO emissions. MECA last year analyzed EPA’s
certification database for model year 2015 non-handheld engines. Of the over 1,000 engines listed,
approximately 100 of these engines are certified with CO levels of less than
50 grams per kilowatt hour. Of the nine gasoline-fueled engines, all
use catalysts and closed loop control. The remaining low-CO engines are either natural
gas or propane, some of which use catalysts. Looking towards the future, several portable
generator manufacturers have already announced they will begin selling low-CO
generators later this year. Regarding the design of emission
control systems for portable generators, manufacturers may choose to include three-way
catalysts in the mufflers of the engines to achieve the low CO emission rates that
would be required by the proposed standard. MECA members have invested millions of
dollars in developing catalyst technology for small SI engines to ensure
their effective and safe operation. Installation of catalysts into mufflers used on small spark-ignited engines
utilize basic manufacturing techniques and countless integration methods
such as heat management and packaging, which are straightforward engineering
challenges that are well understood. EPA and ARB test programs,
both conducted 10 years ago, have shown that catalysts can be applied
to Class I and Class II small engines without increasing safety risks associated
with exhaust component surface temperatures. Strategies to mitigate these issues are
available today to ensure the safe operation of catalyzed mufflers used on
small spark-ignited engines. These types of design issues have been
raised and addressed every time the use of catalyst technology has been proposed
for use on spark-ignited engines, be it for passenger cars, heavy-duty trucks,
large nonroad equipment such as forklifts, or small nonroad engines used in lawn
and garden equipment and generators. All of these issues have been
successfully addressed for each application. Finally, although it is likely that manufacturers will utilize closed loop
electronic fuel injection and catalysts to meet proposed CO performance requirements,
MECA agrees with CPSC that the requirements of the rule should be performance based and should not dictate how generators
should meet the CO emission limits. Companies should have the flexibility to
determine the appropriate technology to use to meet the specified CO emission rates. In fact, the ingenuity of engine manufacturers
has been demonstrated in the development of new advanced designs in Class I and Class
II engines to meet the current Phase III, Tier III small spark-ignited
standards without the use of catalysts. In conclusion, MECA comments
CPSC for taking important steps to reduce CO emissions from portable generators. We believe that the application
of readily available technologies such as closed loop electronic fuel injection
and three-way catalyst technology to small, nonroad, spark-ignited engines a cost effective
solution for reducing exhaust emissions from these engines and MECA is
committed to do our part to ensure that emission control technology is
available to meet CPSC’s requirements. Thank you. CHAIR BUERKLE: Thank you very much, Mr. Santos. Mr. Donnay. MR. DONNAY: Thank you — a consulting
detoxicologist — CHAIR BUERKLE: Excuse me. Is your microphone on? MR. DONNAY: Sorry. CHAIR BUERKLE: Thank you. MR. DONNAY: I’m a consulting detoxicologist and
an environmental health engineer and CO analyst. I have been working on CO issues for
over 20 years and have worked with a lot of different kinds of poisoning
scenarios and investigated them. I first shared these concerns with CPSC
staff at the summit earlier this — last year, rather, that the PGMA sponsored. And I was the only one with these concerns. I am glad they are now shared by others. And I think there has been a real
significant change in the industry response. I am hoping that the commissioners
will reconsider these concerns. I sent them to you in a letter back in October. First, as has been raised before,
CPSC doesn’t have the authority to regulate these air pollutions but EPA does. And critically, they have been
doing this for over 20 years. Most significant is that they have
split their regulations of generators into very strict limits for large generator
engines, just 4.4 grams per kilowatt hour if they are over 19 kilowatt, but much more,
610 to 805, if they are these smaller engines. So while an EPA-compliant, two cylinder, 20
kilowatt commercial generator could emit only up to 88 grams per hour, the entire
machine, an EPA-compliant, one-cylinder, five and a half kilowatt generator,
a very common consumer size, can emit 3,800 percent more
or 3,355 grams per hour. That clearly is the problem,
and it’s EPA’s problem. If they just extended this lower
limit to the small generators, the small generator limit would fall over 99
percent and would be at 24 grams per hour. So CPSC is now proposing to
preempt EPA’s CO emission limits on generators up to 25 kilowatts. That’s how they defined it in the proposed rule. So this would limit the smaller
engines to 150 grams per hour, but the limit for the two
cylinder, 20 kilowatt engine, would increase over 300 percent under this rule. CPSC would allow these engines
to give off 300 grams per hour, and that seems to be going
in the wrong direction. CPSC says it believes lower emission rates are
technically feasible for the smaller engines. So why not, if you want to go down this road,
propose the limits that are at least as low as those already met by larger
generators for 20 years? My second concern is this
claim of a 90 percent decrease. We’ve heard lots of people
hail it, it’s a big number. I agree. But it’s based on
ignoring the cold start. All the data from NIST ignored the cold
start, and they ignored it for 60 minutes. In the rule, they proposed letting it go for
20 minutes, but the manufacturers wouldn’t have to tell us what the maximum CO emission rate
was, how long it took to reach this peak, what level of CO accumulated
in the test chamber. All of these factors affect the ability of
consumers to survive, because they’re not going to start the generator in the driveway and
bring it in the house 20 minutes later. When they start it inside,
all of these emissions from the cold start are going to stay inside. And I ask you, what this really depends on
for success is answering this one question, will low CO or safe CO or ultra-low
CO generators really cause consumers to behave better, to bring
them inside less commonly? If they don’t, if they still bring them inside
— and I suggest they might be more likely to do so — we haven’t solved any problem. There will still be a very high, fast
rise in CO, carboxyhemoglobin will go up high quickly in the person’s blood. And five, 10 or 20 minutes later
when CO emissions fall by 90 percent, that CO level in their blood
will not fall quickly. It takes many times longer to
get rid of CO than to absorb it. All my colleagues who have
studied this agree on that point. So we don’t solve the problem
if we miss that cold start. My third concern is this claim that the
limits are based on technical feasibility. As I mentioned, EPA has had
lower limits for a long time. Neither the briefing package
nor the proposed rule mentioned that these ostensibly technology-based
limits of 75, 50 and 300 grams per hour, depending on the size of the generator, are
almost identical to a completely different set of numbers, to EPA’s 2008 estimates of the
average CO emissions from idling U.S. vehicles in three categories, 71 grams per hour — that’s
the whole vehicle, not just per horsepower, that’s the whole engine for truck — for
cars, 152 for trucks and 301 for motorcycles. Given that EPA has been working
with CPSC staff on this since 2006, I don’t think this is a coincidence. It begs an explanation. I can’t find anybody at CPSC
staff or EPA who can explain it. Why is CPSC only proposing to lower CO
to the average level of U.S. vehicles, when vehicles are still the number
one cause of CO deaths and poisonings? You wouldn’t know this reading
CPSC staff reports because, since they don’t have jurisdiction,
they never mention those numbers. But they still cause more
deaths than the generators. So 90 percent is nice but it’s
not enough, and I urge you to find out where these limits actually came from,
because they are clearly not technically based. My last concern is the staff’s dismissal
of shutoff devices mounted on generators. They have numerous vulnerabilities,
but they didn’t allow the public to look at this data for eight years. They sat on that report for eight years. It took two years after I
filed a FOIA to get it, and the report shows some remarkable findings. Even though they only used UL 2034 home
CO alarms hard wired to the generator, a purpose for which they are
explicitly not meant to be used, right? They’re not even supposed to be in the same room
as a CO source, they still worked perfectly. They took 13 to 14 minutes to shut off
generators when there over 400 PPM. The UL limit allows four to 15 minutes. And when they were in the range of 150 to 400
PPM in the room, they took 40 to 49 minutes, and that again is within the
15 to 50 minutes allowed. Most importantly, and this goes to
Commissioner Robinson’s question about what evidence do we have,
this test is the evidence. There were no false positives or
false negatives, indoors or out. It worked perfectly. The staff never tested any commercially
available CO detectors designed to control relays, such as
the $5 devices installed in vehicles with electronic climate control. These are meant to last over 10
years, don’t need any recalibration. And I point as someone else already has to
the low oil shutoff sensors in these devices, they very reliably protect generator engines. We need a high CO shutoff to
protect generator operators. Here is the CPSC staff version on
the left and on the right is one of these small CO modules inside a BMW
controlling your HVAC, opening and closing it in response to CO levels on the road. These are extremely robust devices. They are all smaller than your thumb. They are extremely robust. I don’t think they’re all metal
oxide anymore, they were originally. It’s just to show you that if they can survive
10 years under the hood of a car on the road, anywhere from Arizona to Alaska, I think
they can survive 10 years on a generator. Some of my reasons to vote against the rule, it’s crazy to raise the emission
limits for larger generators. We should be deferring to EPA to lower them all. Even if we achieve the 90 percent reductions
after they warm up, they are still allowed to emit unlimited CO for 20 minutes and if
misused indoors, they will still poison people. They will not prevent a single case of
poisoning if the generator is brought indoors. Staff presented no evidence that
consumers will be less likely to bring these low-CO generators indoors. And the rule doesn’t give manufacturers the
best option of putting a failsafe CO sensor that would prevent all deaths,
and I’d say even all poisonings, into these devices as an alternative. But this is done with other things. I leave you with this analogy. CPSC doesn’t make electric outlets safe
under wet conditions by requiring them to lower their voltage or current. Where there is a hazardous water
condition, we have a failsafe GFI outlet, it instantly interrupts the circuit. And users are inconvenienced by
losing power and having to reset it, but that’s the price we’re all willing to pay. Another analogy is CPSC doesn’t make
water heaters safer for consumer use — rather you do make them safer by setting
a maximum limit on the water temperature. But this only works when you set that
temperature limit below the hazard. It wouldn’t work if you set
the temperature at 190 degrees, it works because you set it at 140 or less. My parting question to you is why did
CPSC spend all these millions of dollars, take 10 years to develop this unproven,
expensive, complicated approach that won’t work during cold starts, has many
critical parts that could fail without warning, and as the staff estimated would only
prevent about a third of recent deaths, without even testing a simple, proven,
failsafe $5 CO sensor that’s been installed in over 100 million vehicles in the last 15
years with no reported failures or recalls? I know the answer to this question. The staff never heard of it and they
didn’t do a Google search to look for them. Thank you. I appreciate any questions and I
appreciate again the opportunity. CHAIR BUERKLE: Thank you all very much. Thank you for your testimony. I will now begin the questioning
from the commissioners. Again, we will have two rounds of five minutes. And I will begin that questioning. PANEL 2 QUESTIONS CHAIR BUERKLE: Mr. Moses,
with regards to Generac, in your points here in your testimony, you talk
about faster implementation. I’d like to, first of all, ask you do
you have any concerns with the timing or the effective date of our
standard pursuant to our package? And then what you’re saying here is that
you could — with shutoff technology, there would be a faster implementation
of the technology? MR. MOSES: Yes. Yes, to comment to the first portion
of your question relative to concerns with the timing, we do have concerns with that. As we mentioned or I mentioned earlier in
the testimony, we have a very wide portfolio of products, over 25 different engines. To implement a low CO or EFI/catalyst type
option would require quite a bit of redesign on the products, in some cases very significant
redesign due to packaging constraints as well as dealing with heat loads
with that type of a system. The amount of testing, et cetera
that we would have to go through. It’s unlikely we would be able to
complete it in the time allowed in the NPR. The shutdown solution is
something that is much simpler. I believe that was brought
up this morning as well. So the implementation would be much quicker in
terms of designing it in, either as an accessory or as a built-in part of the machine. CHAIR BUERKLE: Thank you. And then I had one other question
with regards to your testimony. Some of the concerns, the
number one concern here, and I’m not necessarily saying it’s your number
one concern, but it was the one first listed, could startup engine choking logic which typically runs the engine
rich, can you just explain that? And is that relevant to the issue that Mr.
Donnay brought up with regards to cold startup? MR. MOSES: Yes. Yes, it is. Essentially, what he had pointed out as well as
what we had in our testimony is that at startup, in order to get the engine started,
the air/fuel mixture would be rich, which typically would create excessive
CO relative to, say, running lean, where you’ve got a warmed-up engine. Most of our generators are designed
to run at lean or more along the lines of stochiometric, which is kind of in between. But at points, it does — it does have
to run rich when the engine is cold. And so you are producing excessive CO.
CHAIR BUERKLE: Thank you very much. Mr. Donnay, you also brought
up the cold start issue, and you mentioned that the NIST study
uses a 60-minute, so the engine runs for 60 minutes and then they begin measuring. You mentioned that our NPR uses 20 minutes. When would you advise that you
should begin measuring the CO output? MR. DONNAY: From the moment
you turn on the engine. I was told by people at NIST
that this was too hard to model, that there was too much variety
among the engines they looked at. To me, that’s the reason you should
require them to test and see what happens. But we know this problem is
unsolvable in the real world. And it’s just a great reason
to look for another solution. The people who are exposed to CO begin
to be poisoned the moment they inhale it. There’s no threshold below which it’s safe, except the level that’s already
in their own body. We all begin to absorb CO when
it exceeds the level in our body. And most of us have less than
10 or 20 PPM in our body. Even smokers are under 100. So above that level, they will
start absorbing right away. And as I mentioned, their COHb will go up much
higher than it would if there was no cold start. CHAIR BUERKLE: Thank you very much. Mr. Johnson, you also talked
about exposure and the — really the compromise to one’s cognitive skill, abilities as they’re being
exposed to the carbon monoxide. So in terms of technology, whether it’s
shutoff or low emission, would you — would you have a preference, in terms of
if someone you’ve said quite eloquently, I would say, that’s nonspecific, the consumer
doesn’t realize there’s CO intoxication, they begin to have impaired judgment
and issues, it would seem to me, and I don’t know whether you’ll agree with
me or not, that the shutoff technology, which takes the consumer out of the
equation, would be preferential. And I would like to hear your comments on that. MR. JOHNSON: I thought Mr. Sowell’s testimony
today was very persuasive on that issue, as well as what he said over the break. And we asked him specifically about the cold
start and he said it was about two minutes. That’s 10 percent of what Mr.
Donnay is expressing concerns about. And I do think that a two-minute period
is insufficient in most situations to get the poisoning into a level that
it would be clinically significant. I — I think both, as Dr. Weaver said, both. Especially if the shutoff is
not a terribly expensive add-on. But the goal is to get the emissions down. And we’ve been getting emissions down in
automobiles since I was in high school. There is no reason for this. CHAIR BUERKLE: Thank you very much, Mr. Johnson. Commissioner Adler. COMMISSIONER ADLER: Thank you, Madam Chairman. And again, thank all of you for taking time
out of very busy schedules to come and testify. We really appreciate it. So, Mr. Moses, I think you’re the third person
here who has talked about this impediment to getting the materials from NIST, the $8,000. Why should the taxpayers
have to spend that money? Surely, even an impoverished
organization like PGMA could scare up $8,000, if this were so critical. Could you please explain
why this hasn’t been done? MR. MOSES: I think the bigger issue is the
fact that, at least my understanding — and I’m a little removed from the request —
but my understanding is that it was not stated that we would explicitly get
everything we were asking for. There was some question. You’re going to get some information, but
it may or may not be everything you need. I think that’s the bigger concern. COMMISSIONER ADLER: Okay, that’s
a new — a new twist on it. But at least in terms of the $8,000,
I would plead with all of you to reach down into petty cash and help
PGMA get this information. One of the things that I’m
concerned about is that the sensors for these machines will not be remote
sensors, which is the technology, Mr. Sively, I’m going to come and ask you about this, but these would be sensors
actually on the generator. Has PGMA or has Generac itself
thought about trying to set — even if the sensors remain on
the generator — remote sensors? Because if you have a generator that’s 40
feet away and a generator that’s 10 feet away, if you’ve got the shutoff technology, it’s going
to shut them both off under either circumstance. And even though one might
not be hazardous at all. MR. MOSES: Sure, no, I understand. I haven’t been with the company
a tremendously long time, so there may have been some
exploration of the remote sensors. Since I joined the company and
have been working with this, it’s primarily been focused
on the onboard type sensor. And I think what we’ve seen from our testing
is that even if the generator is positioned, you know, in different locations, different
scenarios, by setting the limits carefully and making sure you’ve got the correct type of
an algorithm to — to watch what it’s sensing, we feel confident that we’re still able to
detect when the CO potentially could be building up elsewhere, just by watching
the proximity of the generator. COMMISSIONER ADLER: Okay, thank you very much. Mr. Shively, I was extremely
impressed by your testimony, because you seem to have real life experience
with the shutoff approach to generator issues. The first question I have is that when you’re
putting a shutoff device and a sensor on a boat or a tent, those are remote
sensors, is that correct, removed in distance from the generator itself? Do you have any where you actually attach
the sensor and the shutoff device directly to the generator, any experience with that? MR. SHIVELY: Yeah, in the case of the boat, the
CO detector is located in the, you know, area — the galley or COMMISSIONER ADLER: The
cabin is what I would call it, but yeah. MR. SHIVELY: Yeah, the cabin. And the generator is in the engine room. So that is a remote sensor. And then we have the capability
of tying sensors together, and in series with that, we
connect up to the generator. So if any sensor goes into alarm,
that it will turn off the generator. COMMISSIONER ADLER: Yeah. That actually isn’t my question. My question is, do you have experience
with the sensor directly attached to the generator and only to the generator? MR. SHIVELY: Yeah, only to the generator,
that is what the tent manufacturer was doing. Because it was a military type of
venture, we did not get too close to that. But they were actually mounting
it onboard their generator. COMMISSIONER ADLER: Yeah, you said onboard and
I wasn’t clear what the term “onboard” meant. It was attached directly to the generator? MR. SHIVELY: That’s correct. COMMISSIONER ADLER: Okay, thank you. And the other question I had is, you’ve
moved from metal oxide to electrochemical. And I’m wondering if you’ve seen
any problems with electrochemical? And it’s that same issue of they’re going to
go from minus 30 degrees to 100-plus degrees, and this could be over the course of months. And have you done tests on the reliability and
in particular the durability of these sensors? MR. SHIVELY: Yeah. We just completed the marine section of
that test for our new detector coming out, and that temperature range is
minus 30 to plus 70 is the range that it will operate in and it’s tested to. The next step is to do the RV testing
and that will take it from a minus 40 C to a plus 70 C. COMMISSIONER
ADLER: C as opposed to F? MR. SHIVELY: That’s correct. COMMISSIONER ADLER: Okay. Thank you very much. CHAIR BUERKLE: Commissioner Robinson. COMMISSIONER ROBINSON: Mr. Shively,
I am fascinated by your experience, for the simple reason that I think your success in your limited applications explains precisely
what my problem is with the sensor and shutoff. Now, so you’re — at this point, you’re
involved in boats and tents, that’s it, right? MR. SHIVELY: That is our primary business, yes. COMMISSIONER ROBINSON: Okay, and how
big of boats have you worked with? I mean, do you work with the mega-yachts? MR. SHIVELY: Yes. COMMISSIONER ROBINSON: So have you done studies
with respect to migration of carbon monoxide? MR. SHIVELY: We have not. What we typically do is we — where
there’s multiple accommodation spaces, then there are certain regulations
for how many CO detectors and detection devices that are required. COMMISSIONER ROBINSON: So I’m sorry to
interrupt, so if you have multiple spaces on the boat where there will be
occupants, let’s say bedrooms, you will have a sensor in each of those, right? MR. SHIVELY: That’s correct. COMMISSIONER ROBINSON: And then it
will be wired to the generator, right? MR. SHIVELY: That is how — there are
several applications that way, yes. COMMISSIONER ROBINSON: Okay. Because the only way that you know of —
obviously, you’re not going to, on a boat, put it on the generator because
it’s in a closed environment, it will shut the generator down, right? MR. SHIVELY: Correct. COMMISSIONER ROBINSON: Okay. So if you put the sensors outside,
it’s wired to the generator, what you’re doing is you’re trying to put
a sensor wherever people might be exposed to carbon monoxide; is that fair to say? MR. SHIVELY: That’s correct. COMMISSIONER ROBINSON: Okay. And on the tent, where you’ve got the sensor on
the generator, you’ve got a very limited space, so if the generator is getting enough
carbon monoxide that it’s sensing that it would be dangerous to a human
being, it’s in the same space, correct? MR. SHIVELY: That’s correct. COMMISSIONER ROBINSON: Okay. Have you worked with any applications where
you’ve got the sensor on the generator but the carbon monoxide could migrate to spaces quite a distance away
from the portable generator? MR. SHIVELY: We do not. COMMISSIONER ROBINSON: And one other thing. I’m assuming — well, let me just ask you. Have you worked at all with tamper resistance? I don’t think you’d need to in the boat
environments, because people aren’t going to tamper with something because you’re
not going to get nuisance shutdowns. But I just wonder if you’ve had situations
where you’ve worried about a nuisance shutdown such that people might tamper
with any of your devices? MR. SHIVELY: Yeah, nuisance alarms are
certainly something that — that are a concern. And in many CO deaths that have happened
in marine that I’ve actually investigated, because of older sensor technology
and sensors get contaminated that, you know, they false alarm. So what happens is that people bypass
them and they don’t wake up the next day. They think they’re getting a false alarm, but they’re really sensing
CO. COMMISSIONER ROBINSON: So you talked about the new CO
detectors that you’re working on. But what we’ve talked about
in terms of a detector on the generator applies
to the new one, too, right? Is it just in the marine environment
that you’re working on the new one? MR. SHIVELY: No, we are currently
working with a generator manufacturer and we’re using the electrochemical, which
is the new style, which is less susceptible to contamination and a lot of the other issues. And, you know, with that one, it is —
COMMISSIONER ROBINSON: But what’s — what’s the venue in which
you’re going to use it? Are you going to use it RVs, marine —
MR. SHIVELY: No, on a portable generator. COMMISSIONER ROBINSON: Sorry? MR. SHIVELY: On a portable generator. COMMISSIONER ROBINSON: On a portable generator. Well, where is the generator going to be used? MR. SHIVELY: The generator
would be operated outside. COMMISSIONER ROBINSON: Mr. Moses,
I met with a lot of the people from PGMA probably two years ago, and it
may have been a year ago, and never heard — and I was pushing, pushing, pushing for anything
that you guys would do to make generators safer, and all I was hearing about was warnings. And now we’re hearing about
these sensors and shutoffs. When did you guys start working on this? MR. MOSES: Again, I’ve only been
with the company a short time, but I believe we really started focusing
fairly heavily on this last year. COMMISSIONER ROBINSON: How long
have you been with the company? MR. MOSES: About 11 months. COMMISSIONER ROBINSON: So my — conceptually,
my problem is I cannot fathom how you are going to get a portable generator with a sensor
on the generator that is going to shut down the generator when carbon monoxide has
migrated to a separate part of an arena, at a wedding, a separate
part of the house, a bedroom, how that’s going to like intuitively know
at the generator level that somehow — and you used some phrase that you can
tell what the CO level is just based on proximity to the generator. That doesn’t make any sense to me. Maybe you can help me out. MR. MOSES: Well, it’s based on the settings
and what type of an algorithm you’re using in the sensor in terms of what you’re sensing and where you’re trying to
shut the machine down. What I would suggest is, because there’s a lot
of detail that I either am not in a position to share at this point or probably
not the right person to share. At the technical summit and also at the
closed meeting that has been proposed, Generac present much more information
behind the testing that we have done. Because I think once you see
that, I think you’ll feel or at least understand what we’re talking about. COMMISSIONER ROBINSON: Okay,
I’m way over my time. Thanks. CHAIR BUERKLE: Thank you. Commissioner Kaye. COMMISSIONER KAYE: Thank you, Madam Chair. Mr. Moses, can you give us a rough
approximation, please, of how many — what percentage of the market
is covered by PGMA membership? Do you know that? MR. MOSES: I do not know that, no. COMMISSIONER KAYE: Any sense
off the top of your head? MR. MOSES: No. Again, as I said, I’m relatively
new to the industry and I’m not real sure what
that percentage would be. COMMISSIONER KAYE: So let me ask you this. Is it your understanding that every
single portable generator that is sold in the United States is sold by a PGMA member? MR. MOSES: I do not know that for sure. COMMISSIONER KAYE: Okay. Let’s just assume for the sake that it’s not,
that there are imports coming from overseas. Does that sound fair? MR. MOSES: Sure, that’s probably safe. COMMISSIONER KAYE: Are you — if it turns out
that the sensor technology is a viable option and addresses the hazard, are you
comfortable with the Commission locking that into a mandatory standard
from a competitiveness standpoint? MR. MOSES: I think that, if the
playing field is equal, then yes, I don’t think we’d have an issue with that. COMMISSIONER KAYE: Okay. So the issue here is not a philosophical one of
voluntary standards versus mandatory standards, it’s the — I’m asking you, I’m
not putting words in your mouth — it’s making sure we get it right? MR. MOSES: Agreed. I think that’s what was expressed
this morning in some of the comments. We at Generac want to make sure that
we provide the best, safest solution. COMMISSIONER KAYE: Okay, and I appreciate that. Because Mr. Wischstadt, and maybe he was
speaking on behalf of PGMA, he expressly asked that we paused the rulemaking
while PGMA moves forward. MR. MOSES: I think — and I understand that. And I think I had the same
comment in here as well. Because I think there is still more that we
need to understand in terms of the application of the sensors so again we
offer the best solution. We want to make sure that what
we’re doing is, one, safe; two, is cost effective for the consumers. If we just throw technology at a machine,
ultimately potentially we can price it out of the market and then, you
know, there is no advantage there. So I think we are saying the same thing. We want time to make sure we
understand what is that best solution, which would then be proposed through the PGMA. COMMISSIONER KAYE: And one of the areas
again, and let me make sure I got this right, was you said you didn’t want
to have, I think you said, duplication of efforts; is that accurate? MR. MOSES: Right, right. COMMISSIONER KAYE: And those efforts that
you’re talking about duplicating are the efforts in PGMA versus the CPSC’s efforts? So two different entities trying to
address this hazard simultaneously? MR. MOSES: There’s some of that, as
well as potential duplication of effort between industries because we may be going
after different ways to solve the same problem. If we can have a clear focus on
what it is we’re going after, we can work together more effectively. COMMISSIONER KAYE: Got it. And do you have the same concern
about duplication of efforts of PGMA duplicating efforts or doing
efforts on top of what UL is already doing? MR. MOSES: There are some concerns there, yes. COMMISSIONER KAYE: And are you
comfortable then or would you recommend that Generac have PGMA stand down
and let UL complete its work first? MR. MOSES: Actually, I think
we’d prefer the other way. (Laugher.) COMMISSIONER KAYE: Didn’t UL start first? Didn’t UL — and I realize you’re new to this. MR. MOSES: I think so — sure, sure. But my understanding is the
direction they’re going in — I believe where PGMA is going is a
more comprehensive look at things. COMMISSIONER KAYE: And what
are you basing that on? MR. MOSES: What I have heard in
terms of what the UL activities are, focusing on a particular test method. COMMISSIONER KAYE: So you are not basing it
on hazard patterns that are being addressed, you’re just talking about
solutions that might be offered? I’m trying to understand when you say more
comprehensive — MR. MOSES: Focus of the effort, I should say, in terms of what
the ultimate deliverable would be. COMMISSIONER KAYE: Do you — MR. MOSES: I think
the PGMA standard covers a broad range of items. COMMISSIONER KAYE: Items meaning products? MR. MOSES: Product, performance,
safety, et cetera. There’s a lot of good standards,
if you will, in there. COMMISSIONER KAYE: I see. And do you have a sense as to can
you explain to me the hazard patterns that the proposed PGMA standard would address? MR. MOSES: No, I’m probably not
the right person to explain that. COMMISSIONER KAYE: You cannot explain that? MR. MOSES: No. COMMISSIONER KAYE: Okay. And in your list — in your testimony, you
had a list of items that all in essence, and I would love to have more time to get to
Mr. Santos for his comment on it, maybe we will, a long list of items that appeared to be
concerns about limitations in your mind or Generac’s mind about the
performance of EFI technologies and incorporating catalysts as well. MR. MOSES: Right. COMMISSIONER KAYE: What did you base that on? MR. MOSES: I think a lot of this is based
on current industry technology, testing. I believe the team that has been working on this for some time now has referenced
industry reports, et cetera. So that’s where essentially this comes from. COMMISSIONER KAYE: Do you have specific Generac
tests that would validate these concerns? MR. MOSES: I know in some cases, we do. And again, I think that’s
information we can share either at the technical summit or during the visit. For instance, the cold startup, running
rich, producing more CO, we have done tests where we show that — where that is happening. COMMISSIONER KAYE: Yeah, my time has expired. I would just ask that you submit
that as part of the comment period. I don’t think that’s proprietary
data, that’s just test data. That would be valuable for the Commission
to validate what you’ve said here. Thank you. MR. MOSES: Sure. CHAIR BUERKLE: Commissioner Mohorovic. COMMISSIONER MOHOROVIC: Thank
you, Madam Chairman. Thank you to the entire panel for
your contributions to today’s hearing. I have a couple of questions. I have a question beginning with Mr. Moses. I want to talk about the product
service life of the different generators that would be subject to the proposed rule. Generally speaking, and I know
there are different classes, but what is the product service
life of your products? MR. MOSES: I’m not sure of that specifically. Again, being relatively new to the industry. But I know we anticipate the products being
used up to as much as 10 years or more. COMMISSIONER MOHOROVIC: Ten years or more? MR. MOSES: Right. COMMISSIONER MOHOROVIC: Okay. I think our staff mentioned 10 to 15 years,
which gives me a little bit of concern. Mr. Shively, I think I heard you mention
that with the electro-technical — electrochemical type sensors, a
seven to 10 year product service life for those particular kinds of sensors. Did I hear that correctly? MR. SHIVELY: Yes, that is correct. Seven to 10 would be the expected life. And, you know, it certainly is an — would be an
easy change in the field as a replacement part. COMMISSIONER MOHOROVIC: I know if my
neighborhood is any indicator in terms of the product service life of many of the
generators used in the Glen Ellen area, they do surpass 10 years,
to the industry’s credit. But if the sensors are going to last seven to
10 years and the generator is going to last more than 10 years, either they have
to start making worse products, or you’ve got to start making
a better product if we’re going to rely on that to mitigate the hazard. Do you have any thoughts in terms of what you
might be able to do, given an expansive market, if in fact this was a viable alternative
to meet a mandatory performance standard, and therefore it would — it would be rational
for you to make those kind of investments in the technology to make them —
to expand the product service life? MR. SHIVELY: Right. The electrochemical sensor, it
actually has a liquid inside. So as it’s operating and
after it has been installed, what happens is that electrolyte
starts to evaporate. And when it evaporates to
the point where it’s gone, then it will give you a signal
saying that I’m entering end of life. And that’s really the limitation
of the sensor itself, as opposed to how we are incorporating
it into an overall detector. So that’s a limitation of the sensor itself. COMMISSIONER MOHOROVIC: Okay,
I’ll allow Mr. Donnay. Thank you, Mr. Shively. MR. DONNAY: Thank you. I think the answer you’re looking for
is maybe that these can be installed in a failsafe manner, so whether someone
tampers with them or they reach end of life, they’ll lock out the generator. Problem solved. I mean, they’re going other see
that their generator doesn’t work, they’ll call the 800 number,
they’ll take it to a repair place and they’ll learn, oh, you need a new CO sensor. COMMISSIONER MOHOROVIC: Okay. Thank you very much. That’s all the questions I had. CHAIR BUERKLE: Thank you very much. We will begin now round two of our questions. Mr. Donnay, when I talked about cold start
and I addressed it as well as Mr. Johnson, and on the panel this morning as well, Mr. Johnson didn’t take what you were saying
seriously about the 10 percent and the amount — with the cold start, the amount of CO emissions
that can occur during that period of time, either prior to 20 minutes or up to 60 minutes. Do you want to comment on that
or do you want to explain? MR. DONNAY: I’ll give you no cold
start, pretend it didn’t happen. Just expose human beings to the emissions
from the perfectly working modified generator. If it’s allowed to emit the same level of
CO as the average of vehicles, cars, trucks, motorcycles, it won’t prevent any poisonings. Because when cars, trucks and
motorcycles are run in garages, usually accidentally left on,
the occupants of the home die. They don’t have to die in the
garage, sitting in the car. The CO is effectively transported
through the house. And to answer Commissioner Robinson’s concern
about that, if the CO sensor is working on the machine, it may not be the
first one in the room to go off. But as the staff testing found, even when it
was over 1,000 PPM in one corner of the room, the unit on the generator still shut
it off within the CPSC UL limits. And if you lower those limits, the
detector will respond appropriately. There doesn’t even have to
be two minutes of poisoning. And I don’t understand why we would
completely allow the cold start when we can prevent any exposure at all. CHAIR BUERKLE: Thank you very much. Mr. Moses, I want to go back to the line of
questioning from Commissioner Kaye with regard to UL’s and the development of their — is
it a standard or did you say it was a test? MR. MOSES: My understanding was it was
a standard that focused on testing. CHAIR BUERKLE: On the testing. So do you want to explain just a little bit
— MR. MOSES: I was getting ready to say, I’m probably not very qualified to
get much deeper than that into that. CHAIR BUERKLE: Okay, thank you. Mr. Johnson, I just wanted to know,
when you’re talking about oxygen levels, and this goes to your experience with
carbon monoxide, carbon monoxide poisoning, maybe you could speak to
how a reduced oxygen level or that environment would affect the consumer,
say at 15 to 18 percent levels of oxygen? MR. JOHNSON: Well, the issue is
it’s not the reduction in oxygen, it’s the increase in carbon monoxide. Because of carbon monoxide’s greatly
enhanced capacity to bind to hemoglobin, and then its much greater capacity
for the cells to grab it off of the blood as it goes through than oxygen. Rarely do we have people asphyxiated because
they don’t have enough oxygen in the room. They are breathing air in. It’s because the carbon monoxide takes the
place of the oxygen when it reaches the cell. With respect to some of the
comments made by Mr. Donnay, he says we would have no reduction in deaths. Yet we’ve had an 80 percent reduction of deaths
with respect to automobiles and carbon monoxide. At one point, he said there
was a one third reduction and then he said there was no
reduction, so I don’t understand. He takes this attitude that one drop,
so to speak, of carbon monoxide is going to kill us and that’s just not the case. It is a gradient and while I wouldn’t
want to say that no harm could come from a carboxyhemoglobin — any
measurable carboxyhemoglobin level, the reality is that the greater the level,
the greater the harm, up to it may start to — you may start to have a convergence of
problems when you get above 10 percent. But there’s a lot of evidence that would
indicate that if the highest level never got above 5 percent, that it would not likely
have the kind of morbidity we see now. And we are talking about a 90 percent reduction. And that should translate to a 90 percent
reduction of the carboxyhemoglobin levels. CHAIR BUERKLE: Thank you. Thank you very much for that answer. I think probably one of the
complications of that matter is that as the carbon monoxide level rises, as
you mentioned earlier, the cognitive abilities and the awareness of the consumer is affected. My time is almost up. I just want to comment on one thing, and
that is Commissioner Adler and the NIST data. My only concern is the taxpayer
has already paid for — we paid NIST to do a study for us and so they’ve
done their fair share and we’re not asking — I think that NIST owes us the data, as
well as anyone else who’s FOIAed that. COMMISSIONER ADLER: Yes, NIST has done the
work for us, but they’re asking for that work and there is this thing called
the Freedom of Information Act, which also permits government that’s developed
information, when somebody makes a request, and this must be thousands
and thousands of pages, that they get some degree of reimbursement. That’s specifically set forth in
the Freedom of Information Act. So I’m not — I’m not exactly sure what the
point is, other than maybe I’ve heard a plea that we abolish cost reimbursement
for the Freedom of Information Act. CHAIR BUERKLE: My time has expired. COMMISSIONER ADLER: Okay. CHAIR BUERKLE: Commissioner Adler. COMMISSIONER ADLER: Thank you very much. Mr. Santos, first of all,
thank you for your testimony. And I didn’t want to leave you
unaddressed with questions. So I do notice that on page 4 of your
testimony, you refer to the ingenuity of engine manufacturers in
developing new advanced design for certain small spark-ignited
engines to meet Phase III, Tier III standards without the use of catalysts. And I was wondering if you could
explain what this technology is and whether we’re near to seeing it widespread. MR. SANTOS: That reference is to in general. So the standards that were set back when EPA
and both ARB in California set their Tier III, the tighter standards that are currently in
place for small Class I and Class II handheld and non-handheld engines, the expectation I
think at the time was the standards could be met through the use of catalyst technology
and electronic fuel injection. But it’s turned out over time, in the 10
years, that the standards that were set — and we can debate whether or not we consider
them to stringent enough, both for HC+NOx and CO, and are being met by
several manufacturers working with engine manufacturers
without the use of catalysts. So my comment was to acknowledge
that that has been the case. Through engine calibration and without
having to use emission control technology, the standards themselves weren’t forcing
enough to require the use of catalysts. So a lot of test work was done to support that, to say that you could meet these
lower through the use of catalysts. But in the end, the standards that
were set and through the ingenuity of the engine manufacturers working with the generator manufacturers,
were able to meet these. COMMISSIONER ADLER: And I think what you’ve
just done is to underscore the wisdom, not to say the necessity, of doing
it as a performance standard. So we’re not saying you must use EFI
and you must use catalytic converters. Just, you must get your levels
below a certain amount. So I guess another fair question for an
emission control group is what do you think about the shutoff approach
that PGMA is suggesting? Do you have any reservations
or any approval of it? MR. SANTOS: Yeah, in listening to the
conversation this morning and today, I was thinking about that
and whether that would be — I mean, we came here today as MECA
to support CPSC and specifically that the conclusions they came to within their
NPR, that these CO standards could be met through the use of readily available
technology, that we agree with that. Actually, personally, we have not talked
within MECA, within our member companies, with our staff, how we directly feel about the
option that’s being discussed about shutoff and whether one or the other or both. Except to say that the technology
is available to meet the standards that are currently being proposed. COMMISSIONER ADLER: I will hazard a guess that that conversation probably will
take place after today’s hearing. MR. SANTOS: Well, given the fact that you’ve
requested it — COMMISSIONER ADLER: Yeah. And I guess one of the questions I have is
you talked about EPA standards and you talk about CPSC standards and we have
been told you can’t meet both, that they would directly contradict. Do you have any view as to whether it’s possible
to meet the EPA standard and to meet the, if it goes into effect, the
proposed CPSC standard? MR. SANTOS: Well, the EPA
standards are currently being — well, the standards have been in
effect for a while and the engines that are being certified are currently
meeting the HC+NOx and CO standards. And so what CPSC is proposing with this
in-use, operating level, we are just echoing that it could be met similarly with the
same technologies that were being tested and demonstrated to meet the
Tier III, Phase III standards. I don’t really necessarily see
a conflict there in terms of — I mean, I’m not going to get into the legality
— COMMISSIONER ADLER: No, not the legality, I was talking the technical feasibility. MR. SANTOS: — as well. But from the technical feasibility point,
we are here to support the fact that, both very specifically in the work that was
done by CPSC, the work that was done at the ARB and EPA as well as Southwest Regions
Institute, that I cited, as well as the work that has been done within our member
companies specifically, and in general, which we’ve referred to by others as
well about the work that’s been done with catalyst technology, not just with portable
generators, but the latest and greatest, state of the art is currently on passenger
cars and certified out in California. Issues we’ve talked about, with lightoff. Which, by the way, there’s some
confusion about the time frames. I mean, lightoff is an issue. It’s being addressed. And also to address the Generac
comments about catalysts, no one within MECA would not acknowledge
that there are concerns with the use of catalyst technology on spark-ignited engines. The point that is being made in a general
sense is whether it’s packaging, durability, poisoning, they’re all being met and
have been met and proven to be met through these demonstration programs, as
well as what’s currently in the market today, for these other sources and sectors, whether
it’s light duty, heavy duty, spark — forklifts, weed whackers and lawn mowers. And that is sort of where we come from
to make the point within our testimony that the technology is available to — to
address and meet the CO proposed standards. COMMISSIONER ADLER: Thank you for
talking so fast, and I’ve been trying to listen fast, but my time has expired. (Laughter.) COMMISSIONER ADLER: Thank you. CHAIR BUERKLE: Thank you. Commissioner Robinson. COMMISSIONER ROBINSON: Thank you. I confess that as I’ve circled this
issue for a really long time now, that I am getting the lights up constantly on
how people actually use portable generators, as somebody who has never used one. And Mr. Johnson, you have represented
a number of clients who have suffered from carbon monoxide poisonings
with various uses, and I wonder if you could just discuss
some of the different circumstances in which people suffer from
carbon monoxide poisoning. MR. JOHNSON: Well, in addition to what’s
been documented with respect to generators, probably the other largest segment of it
is some type of malfunctioning HVAC system. The school cases, one was an
improper obstruction of the intake air for a boiler that was heating the building. Another one was a hot water heater
that the pipe had rusted through. The hotel was inability to get enough fresh
air for the furnaces when they were running. You know, bank building, similar type problem. So it’s usually in a building, in a static
type building, HVAC, it has something to do with the absence of enough oxygen to make sure that the exhaust flows properly
through the system. COMMISSIONER ROBINSON: So you talked
about this wedding that you had a number of people who were poisoned at it. Were these portable generators
that were being used there? MR. JOHNSON: Yeah, they were four, you know,
three-kilowatt, brought into a wedding. The band apparently needed higher capacity
electrical demands for their amplifiers than what the building was willing or
able to provide them, and they went out and rented four generators, took them inside. Now, one of the most important parts of that
story is that the warnings are in English and none of the people involved in
that poisoning spoke very good English. And even though there’s pictures, I don’t think
the pictures work very well without language. And if we’re going to have warnings that
don’t warn in all the languages we know that our people speak, and especially the kind
of people who are more likely to have that need in an emergency situation, the warnings
aren’t going to be very effective. COMMISSIONER ROBINSON: And
were these rented generators? MR. JOHNSON: Yes. They were rented. COMMISSIONER ROBINSON: Do you have an opinion
about, you know, candidly, up until very, very recently, all I have
been hearing from many members of industry is that warnings are sufficient. And I just wonder if you have an opinion
as to whether they are sufficient? MR. JOHNSON: On the hierarchy of safety,
warnings should always be the last option. You should either eliminate the hazard, guard
against it, which I think we have two options, A, with lowering the emissions, eliminate,
warn against it would be the shutoff. And the warning is the worst of that options. If you can’t eliminate and you can’t
guard against it, then you warn. We can do both of those other things. We should not rely on warnings, especially
warnings that are only in English. And when you’re talking about the rental
situation, you’re talking about people who have probably never used a generator before. And we don’t talk as much about carbon
monoxide as we did when I was a kid, when we had all these EPA requirements and we
had smog and all of these things in our cities. I’m not sure that the 20-year-olds or the 30-year-olds even understand what
carbon monoxide is, because it’s not part of our public conversation like it used to be. COMMISSIONER ROBINSON: And have you ever seen
any warning settlement really communicate the incredible danger of portable
generators in terms of carbon monoxide? I mean, I was shocked, and whenever
I’ve spoken with people anecdotally and said how many hundreds of times the
carbon monoxide that a portable generator puts out compares with what an idling automobile
puts out, I’m always met with shock. But I just wonder if you’ve ever seen a warning that actually tells people how
incredibly dangerous these are. MR. JOHNSON: Well, if I followed my father
into engineering, these types of generators, which is what he did for his career, I wouldn’t
be very happy knowing that little picture on the side of the generator was the only
protection that I was going to have — my product was going to have from
this kind of mortality and morbidity. COMMISSIONER ROBINSON: And my last question
for you is, could you tell us the range of long-term effects that you’ve
seen from carbon monoxide poisoning where there isn’t severe brain injury? MR. JOHNSON: Well, define severe brain injury? If you’re going to talk about severe brain
injury and the kind of thing that puts a person in a coma, which is typically — COMMISSIONER
ROBINSON: I think that’s a good point. MR. JOHNSON: Most carbon monoxide people,
those who survive, are awake within hours, if not by the time they’re evacuated. So it falls into what might be considered a
mild to moderate category for brain injury. But the disability, especially when
you’re talking about mood and behavior, is perhaps more severe than
with traumatic brain injury. I think it has a more systemic wide system. It seems to impact more things than a
specific traumatic brain injury might. And because it affects so many
things and also affecting the organs, I think it has an overall greater
cumulative disability than even what we see in fairly toward the moderate side
of the mild brain injury spectrum. COMMISSIONER ROBINSON: Thank you. CHAIR BUERKLE: Thank you. Commissioner Kaye. COMMISSIONER KAYE: Thank you, Madam Chair. Mr. Johnson, Jr., I appreciated
earlier during your testimony, I appreciated very much your mention of chronic
exposure, and I thought it was a great analogy to the subconcussive hits
that are going on in sports. I don’t think that we have a mechanism, from
my perspective, to properly capture those type of incidents, because that’s not
likely getting reported, for instance, through an emergency department
or even a physician’s office. And so whatever data you have related
to that, I would just request, please, that you submit that as part
of this open rulemaking. MR. JOHNSON: The issue of chronic
has not been studied nearly as much as those who have been hospitalized. And in most cases, the chronic
people don’t realize what’s happening when their blood levels are actually positive. So it’s much more difficult to categorize. But the studies that have been done have
actually shown worse results from those with chronic exposures than those
with more severe, acute ones. And I think the reason is the multiple
concussion phenomenon that’s going on. We’re not sure of the bio mechanism, because we
don’t have autopsies of a large group of people like they do with the NFL, but I suspect
there may be something similar going on. COMMISSIONER KAYE: And I
think from our perspective of having a more refined cost/benefit
analysis, that would be very important data. Mr. Shively, can you explain to me
please, or us, help us understand, how do you set the shutoff threshold? What’s the trigger for your detector? What is that based on? MR. SHIVELY: Well, it’s based
on 10 percent COHb. So in the UL 2034 standard, your alarm
must activate, depending on the PPM level that you’re seeing in the area, it has
to alarm within a given time frame. And so every unit is tested to that. You actually subject it to CO and verify
that it does alarm at those various points. COMMISSIONER KAYE: Got it. And Mr. Donnay, are you comfortable with
that threshold from what you’ve heard? MR. DONNAY: Absolutely not. COMMISSIONER KAYE: Okay. MR. DONNAY: UL 2034 standard says
very clearly in every manual, do not put this detector in a room — sorry. The UL 2034 standard says, don’t put
these detectors in garages, furnace rooms and kitchens where the source is located. They’re not designed to respond to that. And the specs for all other CO controllers
in commercial parking garages and cars, they instantly trip when
their level is exceeded, they don’t wait until you’re
poisoned up to the level of danger. CO poisoning begins the moment you start
to inhale CO and absorb it in your tissues. I don’t say that that will kill
you, I say that poisons you. And I urge you to prevent that,
because it’s easily preventable. COMMISSIONER KAYE: So do you have a
suggestion, or do you plan to participate in the PGMA process to help them
come up with the right threshold? MR. DONNAY: Well, thank you. I proposed 35 PPM in 2006 to the Commission in
the comments on the ANPR and I was correctly, I think, told that that would be too low. I didn’t know about the vehicle
detectors at the time and I was citing the standards
for commercial parking garages. I thought humans should be protected at
least as well as we protect parked cars. I’m willing to go up to 200, which is the NIOSH
immediate evacuation limit for any workplace. I’m not willing to go to the
CPSC 400, the UL alarm standard. I believe that’s too high. It doesn’t deserve to wait 4
to 15 minutes at that level. If you were in a workplace, you would
be notified and evacuated immediately. COMMISSIONER KAYE: So if the
cold start concern is legitimate, and I’m not at this point conceding that
it is, or at least the extent of it, and to Mr. Moses’s point, machines
have to run rich during cold start, from a performance perspective, what — how much
poisoning, in essence, will go on to somebody who is exposed to that unit until the threshold
is triggered and that shutoff kicks in? MR. DONNAY: I urge you all to
think of this very simple analogy, which fortunately is well established. Every breath you take in a CO environment,
approximately half of that CO will enter and stay in your body and half will be exhaled. So the time is very critical. The longer you’re exposed, every single
breath is adding CO to your blood and until you reach equilibrium,
it doesn’t stay in your blood, it goes right through into your tissues. And all together, the tissues and blood
rise until they reach the level in the air. If it’s 1,000 PPM or 10,000 PPM in the air,
you will reach that equilibrium in a few hours. But if it’s lower, what the CPSC is
proposing, if we are down to hundreds of PPM, it will take much, much longer
and the total exposure time and the total absorbed dose
may actually be greater. COMMISSIONER KAYE: And my last question
during this round is, what was the basis of your assertion, please, that CPSC staff was
unaware of the unit that you said is cheaper than $5 and smaller than a thumb? MR. DONNAY: I had extensive discussions
with Chris Brown over the years, who did the staff report and who
was trying to get it released. And he told me that when they developed
the project, their sole focus was to use what they had in the lab, which was 2034
alarms on the shelf, and it just never occurred to them to go look for a commercial device. They just weren’t aware that they exist. And I myself wasn’t aware
of them in automobiles, even though they’ve been there since 2000. But now that we know, I don’t
think we should ignore them. There has never been a recall or failure of
these devices in automobiles that I know of, and I’ve checked with auto parts suppliers
and say, do you ever sell this part to anyone? No, it doesn’t fail. COMMISSIONER KAYE: Okay, thank you. I hope to have further rounds. Thanks. CHAIR BUERKLE: Thank you. Commissioner Mohorovic. COMMISSIONER MOHOROVIC: Thank
you, Madam Chairman. And I appreciate the discussion. I just wanted to — I don’t have any
questions myself, but with five panelists and one minute each, I wanted to maybe move from
my left to my right in case there was any part of the discussion or a dialogue,
Q&A that was taking place but you felt you weren’t fortunate
enough to be asked to engage in it. So, Mr. Moses, is there anything
else at this point you’d like to add? Not that this might be your last
opportunity, but I’m willing to donate it? MR. MOSES: Sure. No, I think — I think, based
on the comments in my testimony, as well as the follow-up questions,
I’ve felt like I’ve said what I can say. COMMISSIONER MOHOROVIC: Mr. Johnson. MR. JOHNSON: Yeah, with respect to —
COMMISSIONER MOHOROVIC: Your mic, please. MR. JOHNSON: With respect to Commissioner
Kaye’s question about the levels, the WHO has a pretty comprehensive
paper on this. I don’t know if it’s in your materials or not. I can submit it. On page 87 of 484, they do have indoor
guidelines, which is 100 parts per million for 15 minutes, 35 for an hour,
10 for 8 hours and 24 for seven. I don’t want anything in my testimony to
indicate that I disagree with Mr. Donnay about the severity of carbon monoxide poisoning. It’s just to use the fact that some
poisoning could occur as a justification not to reduce the potential by 90
percent I think is inappropriate. COMMISSIONER MOHOROVIC: Mr. Johnson, I’ll yield
to my colleague, Commissioner Kaye, to engage. COMMISSIONER KAYE: Thank
you, Commissioner Mohorovic. And was that WHO report specific to
portable generator as the source? MR. JOHNSON: No, this is — this is an indoor
carbon monoxide guideline that’s published by the WHO in I think it’s their
2013 — 2010, I’m sorry, paper. I will — I will submit it upon
the completion of the hearing. COMMISSIONER KAYE: Great, thank you. COMMISSIONER MOHOROVIC: You’re very welcome. Anything else, Mr. Johnson? MR. JOHNSON: No, thank you. COMMISSIONER MOHOROVIC: Terrific. Mr. Shively? MR. SHIVELY: Yeah, the only
thing I’d like to say is the — the detector that we currently manufacture,
we do manufacture that to UL 2034, and so there are certain
levels that we have to meet. That doesn’t say that a detector can’t be
calibrated to alarm at much lower levels. But that’s currently the
standard that we’re working with. And, as we understand it going forward, you
know, we could certainly manufacture a detector that would meet the specs, I believe,
of anything that’s coming out. One comment to Commissioner Robinson. My understanding is that the
majority of the deaths are caused from CO poisoning in enclosed
spaces, a majority. In the case of a shutdown system, that is going to prevent those deaths by
turning the unit off, okay? Where you have CO, and if it is being pushed
by the wind to remote areas, you know, a detector on the unit itself
is not going to cover all cases. So if it’s being operated
outside and if CO does get — accumulate in a camper, a house or whatever, I
think the answer is that in all of those areas, they should have CO detectors
in those enclosed spaces. And that is the only way that you’re going to,
you know, prevent CO deaths across the board. You know, reducing CO levels
certainly is going to help. It’s not going to eliminate it. But again, the majority of the deaths are because people are not using
portable generators properly and they’re putting them
inside, in enclosed spaces. The one he just mentioned today that
happened, the one that happened two weeks ago, the one that happened three
years ago, it’s where CO — where portable generators are being
operated inside of an enclosed space. COMMISSIONER MOHOROVIC: Thank you. Commissioner Robinson, did you want me to yield? No? Okay. Mr. Santos? MR. SANTOS: Yeah, I just wanted
to echo my previous testimony about technologies being readily available
to meet CPSC’s proposed requirements. And once again just to make the point
that the type of technology we’re talking about is not some unknown black box that needs
to be done to meet these proposed standards, whether it was CPSC’s or even
EPA’s or ARB’s CO standards from 10 years ago, the current
Phase III, Tier III. I did want to make one specific comment on
the — COMMISSIONER MOHOROVIC: Two seconds. MR. SANTOS: Sorry, on the CO shutoff issue
was that I think relative to the time frame that these generators are being used,
the CO — the lightoff time is minimal, seconds on passenger cars and probably at
most a couple minutes on portable generators. So whatever elevated levels you might see in
HC+Nox and CO over time would be de minimis. COMMISSIONER MOHOROVIC: Thank you very much. CHAIR BUERKLE: Thank you. So I’ve had a request from Commissioner Kaye
that we extend for another round of questions. First of all, I want to check with the
panel to make sure that doesn’t conflict with your schedules or your travel plans. If you have them and it would affect
you, I will say that we’ll have — this last round will be three minutes long as
we did this morning, just so we don’t interfere. We had a hard stop at 2:40
in terms of scheduling. But since we’ve had this
request, if you need to leave because of a flight, please
feel free to do that. But we’ll just extend this to one last round
of three-minute questions per commissioner. I don’t — do not have any additional
questions, so I will ask Commissioner Adler. COMMISSIONER ADLER: I’m not sure
if this is a question or a comment. But, Mr. Johnson, one of the things
that I have argued for years is, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you
addressing the economic impact of these injuries and fatalities from generators, is that when we
talk about a standard, people are always talking about the increased cost of the product. But they never understand that when you’re
getting an increased cost of the product, what you’re doing is taking costs that
are really being externalized and imposed on the public in the nature of fatalities
or injuries and you are internalizing them, you are reallocating those costs and
putting them into the costs of the product where they ought to be, so that the manufacturer
that’s benefiting and profiting from the sale of that product is absorbing the costs of
their product and not externalizing them. And frankly, consumers are paying
higher prices when that occurs because they are getting the
benefit of these savings. And so it’s not necessarily going to
result in increased societal costs, it’s just reallocating the costs. And I’m wondering if you have
any comment on that observation. MR. JOHNSON: My math isn’t very good,
but I’ll give you a quick summary. If you multiply 10,000 times a million, and I
don’t know if that’s a billion or 10 billion, I’m — I think it must be 10 —
COMMISSIONER ADLER: Law school, last refuge of the non-mathematical mind. And I represent that. MR. JOHNSON: The problem is I pulled out
my calculator and it gave me an answer that — couldn’t do that many zeroes. Forty percent of the people are
going to have a million dollar case. That’s how I would look at it. Forty percent are going to be disabled
of that 25,000 that got hospitalized. And if you’re disabled, it’s going to
be an average of a million dollar case. It’s probably going to be considerably
more than that in most of the cases. COMMISSIONER ADLER: And just this again may
not be a question, it may be an observation. Mr. Shively, one of the things you said is the
necessity for more carbon monoxide detectors, and I am still struggling to understand why they
haven’t spread the same way smoke alarms are, because you can buy them in joint units. What would you think about either a requirement
or a strong suggestion to the industry that when they sell a portable generator,
at a minimum, they include a free or a couple of free CO detectors? Can you see a problem with that concept? MR. SHIVELY: No. As a matter of fact, as a manufacturer of
them, we would actually kind of like that. (Laughter.) MR. SHIVELY: But, you know, certainly I
believe that’s the thing that people don’t get. I mean, I have a generator at my house. I have a CO detector in the garage, I
have one on each level of the house, I have it throughout, because I understand. Okay? But most people do not. So I certainly thing that, at a very minimum,
that there is some kind of recommendation that if you are going to operate a
generator in or around your area, that any enclosed space should
really have a CO detector installed. COMMISSIONER ADLER: I live on the seventh
floor of a condominium and my wife insists that we have two CO detectors, so at
least I’m keeping you in business. Thank you very much. MR. SHIVELY: You bet. CHAIR BUERKLE: Thank you. Commissioner Robinson. COMMISSIONER ROBINSON: In the marine
environment, where you are dealing with sensors that are in rooms wired to the
generator, you are already in a situation where you’ve got reduced emissions from
carbon monoxide because that’s required in the marine environment, correct? MR. SHIVELY: Yes, that’s correct. COMMISSIONER ROBINSON: So
you basically got the two-fer that everybody has been advocating today. MR. SHIVELY: Yes, that’s correct. COMMISSIONER ROBINSON: Okay. Mr. Santos, you’ve said that the technology
is there, but I want to be very specific about this technology in
terms of emission reducing. Adding this requirement that is being proposed
in the CPSC NPR, the first question is would that — would it involve
significant design changes to most portable generators
to meet that standard? MR. SANTOS: No. And I think that’s been demonstrated
in CPSC’s own work and the test programs that have been done. COMMISSIONER ROBINSON: And would these
design changes be cost prohibitive? MR. SANTOS: There would be an
incremental cost through the use of catalyst technology, in
addition to the engine. I think MECA actually did, when EPA and ARB
were running their test programs 10 years ago, but this was on, once again, older engines,
but we estimated at the time I believe it was like $2 to $3 per horsepower increase. So obviously, the bigger the engine — and
this was just within the small engine world. COMMISSIONER ROBINSON: And do you know what rate
of reduction of the CO emissions is feasible? MR. SANTOS: Well, the — as
reported in my testimony, the 80 to 90 percent is what we’ve
seen in our manufacturers’ testing. COMMISSIONER ROBINSON: And
were these engines reliable? MR. SANTOS: Yes. COMMISSIONER ROBINSON: Safe to operate? MR. SANTOS: Yes. COMMISSIONER ROBINSON: Are there
concerns about overheating or hot exhaust? MR. SANTOS: The concerns that have
been raised have been addressed. COMMISSIONER ROBINSON: And you were
about to say something about the duration of a cold start and somebody’s time ran out. MR. SANTOS: Yeah, sorry. I just wanted to — when I didn’t realize we
were not making last comments was just to — I think I heard first earlier this morning
as well as Mr. Donnay and others talking about cold start and lightoff, et cetera. I just want to make, kind of
from our perspective as MECA, the whole catalyst lightoff issue is
an issue, but it is being address. In terms of they’re talking about these elevated
emission levels that happen when you first turn on an engine, but that the time frames we’re
talking about are on the order of minutes. And obviously making the assumption, typical
usage of a portable generator would be over, at a minimum, several hours to more. So, yeah, so just sort of making that issue —
I wasn’t quite sure if I was hearing correctly that others were raising that
it was a much longer duration. I just wanted to make sure that it’s a small — and even more so on the later
technology engines, like on passenger cars, we’re talking seconds. COMMISSIONER ROBINSON: Okay, and are you
aware of anyone dying from the emissions of carbon monoxide during the starting process? MR. SANTOS: No, I’m not. COMMISSIONER ROBINSON: Thank you. I have nothing further. CHAIR BUERKLE: Thank you. Commissioner Kaye. COMMISSIONER KAYE: Thank you, Madam Chair. Mr. Donnay, I’m just going to quickly finish
up with you on where we left off, please, which was your explanation that when you
spoke with CPSC staff a number of years ago, they had not looked at the particular technology
that you mentioned or that particular component. I get that you are very passionate
about this issue. I get your frustration level. We’re passionate, we’re frustrated. But I think that your passion and your
frustration got a little bit of the best of you by saying that CPSC staff was not
aware of it and hadn’t even Googled it. I don’t think that’s a fair characterization of
them, and I would just point that out to you. I don’t know if you want to
add anything else to that. MR. DONNAY: I do. I can see why you’d be upset about it. But I swear to you I’m telling the truth and Chris Brown will back me up
on that, if you can find him. I don’t know what agency he’s been seconded to. But that was the answer I was given. The other staff I had spoken with, they
simply were not aware of these technologies. I wasn’t either. Somebody has to go look for them to find them. COMMISSIONER KAYE: Yeah. And I think in the interim they
are aware of it and they felt like from a technical perspective there
wasn’t so much of a difference in the way that that was manufactured or that component
was made that, based on what they had tested, that it was worth going out and purchasing it. But my understanding is they were aware of it. And so I was concerned about
the characterization of their work and the depth of their work. And I didn’t think — MR. DONNAY:
I congratulate them for proving that the devices worked perfectly. Failsafe, no false positives or no negatives. My question is, why was that not moved forward? Why was that left behind in 2006 for a
multimillion dollar program to develop things that are not yet in commercial use? I thought one of the main priorities here
was to always encourage staff to look at commercially available,
off-the-shelf solutions that wouldn’t require expensive
new designs and engineering. I’m an engineer originally and
I go with keep it simple stupid. This is simple. COMMISSIONER KAYE: Absolutely. And I’m sure when you submit comments
to that effect, that the Commission, including the staff, will
address those in the comments. MR. DONNAY: My fear is that the time
is the real issue, not the level. The longer you’re exposed without warning
someone, the longer they’re absorbing CO. And to stop CO poisoning, you have
to stop the duration of exposure. COMMISSIONER KAYE: Understood. Mr. Moses, how quickly will
you come to market with units that have the shutoff technology on them? MR. MOSES: We’re still completing
our evaluation, studies, et cetera. It’s difficult to give a
time frame at this point. We’ve made good progress to
date, we plan to share that, but I can’t give you a definitive schedule. COMMISSIONER KAYE: Is it within
five years, would you say? MR. MOSES: I would certainly
hope within five years. COMMISSIONER KAYE: Hope within five years. MR. MOSES: Yes. COMMISSIONER KAYE: And from your
perspective, are the shutoff technologies and the reduced CO technologies
mutually exclusive? Meaning, can a unit only have one or the other from an engineering perspective,
or could it have both? MR. MOSES: No, they’re not mutually exclusive. As we discussed this morning, there’s an argument whether
there is an added benefit or not. If there’s negligible benefit and
added cost, does it make sense. But they’re not mutually exclusive. COMMISSIONER KAYE: So there’s no reason
why you at least won’t go forward, especially if PGMA adopts its proposal, regardless of whether reduced
CO technologies are also — whether from UL or from us or from anybody else? MR. MOSES: Assuming we get through all
of our evaluation and it’s positive and we feel that’s the best
solution, absolutely. COMMISSIONER KAYE: Great, thank you. I have more questions, but I
understand there’s no more time. CHAIR BUERKLE: Thank you. Commissioner Mohorovic? COMMISSIONER MOHOROVIC: Thank
you, Madam Chairman. I’ll yield my time to Commissioner Kaye. CHAIR BUERKLE: Very kind of you. Thank you. COMMISSIONER KAYE: I appreciate that. Mr. Shively, so one of the areas that we’ve
been frustrated as a Commission in trying to adjust CO, and Mr. Johnson, Jr.,
mentioned this earlier, is furnaces. And my understanding is that
sensors have proven to be unreliable in that difficult thermal environment. Have you looked at that? And I’m trying to understand, if you’re
confident about the functioning of your sensors, why that wouldn’t be applicable to
furnaces as a shutoff technology? MR. SHIVELY: Right, as I stated, we’ve
been primarily focused on marine. You know, that is our core business. However, over the last few years, we have been
expanding and we’re doing methane detection now in the truck and bus market, and
some of the mining equipment. So we’re expanding our horizons. One of the things that we did talk about —
and we’ve made propane sensors for many years, and we approached that market about having some
kind of shutoff device and detection system. You know, and quite honestly, we
really just didn’t get anywhere. The product that we’re developing along with
one of the portable generator manufacturers, that certainly could be adapted to that market. And as I said, the sensors that we’re
currently using, there’s absolutely no issue with temperature swings, humidity swings. So I think it certainly is something that
could be applicable to that — to that market. It’s just we have not looked at it yet. COMMISSIONER KAYE: Great. And obviously, I think staff would
appreciate if, as we continue that work on the furnace side, that if you would engage
as well there, because the sensor is the sensor and it’s going to be useful for
different applications for us. MR. SHIVELY: Sure. And just real quick? COMMISSIONER KAYE: Yeah, go ahead. MR. SHIVELY: As far as getting it to
market, once we understand a specification, we could be looking at six to
eight months for high volume, ready for market, ready for distribution. COMMISSIONER KAYE: Right, so
that’s on the generator side? Or anything. MR. SHIVELY: Either. COMMISSIONER KAYE: Okay. And Mr. Santos, you heard a long list
or during Mr. Moses’s testimony of all of the perceived limitations of EFI technologies and why they are not reliable
for this application. They basically were summed up as not
reliable in wide temperature ranges, concerns about durability over time and
degradation, concerns about needing to run rich and how long it would take for EFI to kick in. Can you address those, please, from your
significant experience with these technologies? MR. SANTOS: Yes. I mean, I would — I mean, obviously that was an
extensive list and I’m not going to deny that, to some degree, that they’ve seen that. I think that the general point that I made
earlier is the one that I will lean on again and that is to say that the concerns, if
we could categorize all of these things under whether they be heat management
or durability or potential poisoning, that they have been — that they are
concerns but that they have been addressed. And I think whether that has been
demonstrated through the test program that CPSC has already done themselves,
the work that some of the MECA members — I reported just a little bit of that. We can obviously cite that in our written
testimony more about the work that’s been done, that demonstrates that these
issues have been addressed. Whether it be that or lastly
the work that was done 10 — 10 years ago on these small engines back by
EPA, ARB and Southwest, to demonstrate all of these — I’m not saying they
had these list of concerns and went through and checked all of them, per se. But in the end, they came to the final
conclusion that you could install catalysts on these engines and reduce HC+NOx
and CO safely and effectively. I would just make one other comment on that
cold start issue, just quickly, is that, I mean, engines have become so clean these days that
the cold start issue actually is making more of an impact because that
elevated level is so high relative to how clean engines are once the catalyst
kicks in that it’s becoming more of an issue. And in fact, when you’re looking at
that last bit of control on HC+NOx and CO from spark-ignited engines, it is on
the cold start front, because that little bit of elevation relative to how clean these engines
run once the catalyst is running optimally and stochiometric is now one of the main issues that are being investigated
by the catalyst manufacturers. COMMISSIONER KAYE: Good to know. Thank you. And thank you to the rest of the panelists. CHAIR BUERKLE: Thank you very much. Again, our sincere thanks to all of you
this afternoon, as well as our panel from this morning, for sharing your expert
testimony with us and answering our questions and accommodating the request for an extension. So we appreciate that very much. I also want to just thank our staff, Executive
Director Patricia Adkins; our general counsel, Mary Boyle; the Office of Secretary,
Todd Stevenson, and Ms. Rocky Hammond, who really put this all together and
bore with us during this process. And last but not least to John
McGoogan, who does all of our AV. And we thank all of them for being here
today and for supporting this public hearing. This concludes the public hearing of
the Consumer Product Safety Commission. And again, thank you all very much.

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