Letter to the Editor: US certification of LEDs

The Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory program dictates which labs are allowed to carry out product safety testing of LED lighting in the USA.

[Editor's note: Since this Letter was published, Lumileds has revised its original press release. The revised version can be viewed here.]

Dear Editor,

Your LEDs Magazine news article entitled "Luxeon Rebel becomes first UL-recognized DC power LED" from 26 August 2009 contains various incorrect statements.

The article states "The certification will also facilitate Energy Star acceptance, since luminaries must be UL Listed in order to be eligible for the Energy Star label".

This is an incorrect statement. This would imply the US government has allowed a private company (UL) to have total monopoly over testing and certification in the US.

The Energy Star program states that documentation for safety requirements must come from an OSHA NRTL laboratory. The Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) program is run by Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA NRTL laboratories may also be used to obtain certain additional performance characteristics.

Elsewhere, the article also states "UL approval is a de facto requirement for lighting products in the US because it is required by key parties including municipalities, government agencies, architects and insurance companies."

Again, this is an incorrect statement. The NRTL program dictates which labs are allowed to perform this type of testing in the USA.

All municipalities and agencies follow OSHA's NRTL program or a similar program such as what LA has in place. We [CSA International] also deal with all of the insurance companies. In fact, Factory Mutual has their own testing laboratory, FM Approvals LLC (formerly Factory Mutual Research Corporation). The reference to architects is conjecture.

As it is currently written, this article is damaging to us and another competitor to UL, namely Intertek. People who read this article will think that UL is required because the articles says it is so. We need your help to keep the playing field level. CSA, Intertek and UL all do business as direct competitors for the lighting market in the USA.

As for CSA, I personally manage the photometrics and certification of the largest lighting manufacturers in the world so I can say, without a doubt, CSA is accepted in every state in the US.

Best regards,
Jason Chesley
CSA International / OnSpeX
Alpharetta, Georgia

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