FAQ on Safety Certification of SoLED Energy, Inc.s (May 21, 2012)
All electronic products for sale in the US need to be certified as safe. There are a variety of certifying organizations. The following discussion is intended to acquaint you with these certifications and answer your questions regarding SoLED Energy, Inc. compliance. All SoLED Energy, Inc.s are currently CE and RoHS certified by the manufacturer and so stated on most of the packages that we carry. These certifications are EU (European Union) certifications.
The U.S. is way behind the EU in migrating from incandescent lighting to LED lighting. As a consequence, most LED manufacturers have EU certification at this time and very few have certification from a US Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL). The manufacturer for SoLED Energy, Inc.s has applied for UL certification for many of the bulbs listed on our website. The certification process normally takes 3 – 6 months. We will provide an update on this Website when SoLED Energy, Inc.s receives certification from one of the OSHA approved NRTLs.
[Interestingly enough, neither Costco, Home Depot nor Lowes LED bulbs list any certification on most of the LED bulbs they carry. We called one of the Costco suppliers and he stated that he simply repacks the bulbs coming in from China into those typical plastic wraps for Costco.]
UL, CSA, ETL and CE: What’s the Difference?
If you look on the product boxes of lighting products, you’ll often see a silk-screened certification mark or logo such as UL, CSA, ETL or CE. What do these certification marks mean?
Basically they are stamps of approval. SoLED Energy, Inc. products with those logos meet rigorous standards for electrical safety and electromagnetic emissions. The acronyms are spelled out below:
UL: Underwriters Laboratories Inc.
CSA: Canadian Standards Association
ETL: Originally a mark of ETL Testing Laboratories, now a mark of Intertek Testing Services.
CE: Conformance European (Communaut Europenne or Conformit Europenne)
Are all product certification marks the same?
In the U.S., organizations are accredited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories (NRTLs) to test and certify electric and gas products to the applicable U.S. standards and codes. Because these NRTLs meet the same qualifications and use the same standards, their certification marks are regarded as equivalent by regulatory authorities. Thus, the CSA (Canadian Standards Assn.) mark and other qualified marks are considered to be equivalent.
What certification does a manufacturer need to sell products in the U.S.?
In America’s voluntary certification system, manufacturers are free to choose which third-party certifier they would like to use for product certification. State and municipal regulations may specify that the certification organization must be a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL), but they do not specify which NRTL or which mark to use.
What is the CE mark, and what is its purpose?
The European Commission describes the CE mark as a "passport" that allows manufacturers to circulate industrial products freely within the internal market of the EU. The CE mark certifies that the products have met EU health, safety and environmental requirements that ensure consumer and workplace safety. All manufacturers in the EU and abroad must affix the CE mark to those products covered by the "New Approach" directives in order to market their products in Europe. Once a product receives the CE mark, it can be marketed throughout the EU without undergoing further product modification.
If an SoLED Energy, Inc. product is stamped CE, the product does not emit excessive radiation (microwave or RF), and is not overly sensitive to picking up radiation. Here are some examples of tests that electronic devices must pass to earn the CE mark:
EN 55103-1:1995 Electromagnetic Compatibility Product Family Standard for Audio, Video, Audio-Visual and Entertainment Lighting Control Apparatus for Professional Use, Part 1: Emissions
EN 61000-3-2:1995+A14:2000 Limits for Harmonic Current Emissions (equipment input current <=16A per phase)
EN 61000-3-3:1995 Limitation of Voltage Fluctuations and Flicker in Low-Voltage Supply Systems Rated Current <=16A
EN 55103-2:1996 Electromagnetic Compatibility Product Family Standard for Audio, Video, Audio-Visual and Entertainment Lighting Control Apparatus for Professional Use, Part 2: Immunity
EN 61000-4-2:1995 Electrostatic Discharge Immunity (Environment E2-Criteria B, 4k V Contact, 8k V Air Discharge)
EN 60065: 1998 Safety Requirements Audio Video and Similar Electronic Apparatus
In summary, the certification marks on SoLED Energy, Inc. products are your assurance that the product meets rigorous standards for electrical safety and electromagnetic emissions. It poses no shock hazard (except as noted on the product or in the manual), and it will not cause electromagnetic interference with other devices beyond a certain distance. You can use the product with confidence.
Does OSHA accept the "CE" mark or accept equipment certified by foreign testing organizations?
According to OSHA’s Website, the CE mark is unrelated to the requirements for product safety in the US. It is a generic mark used in the European Union (EU) to indicate that a manufacturer has declared that the product meets requirements in the EU for product safety. In the US, under OSHA's NRTL requirements, the product must have the specific mark of one of the NRTLs recognized to test and certify these types of products.
Does OSHA participate in mutual recognition or similar agreements?
At this time, OSHA does not participate in any such agreements but previously OSHA participated in the 1998 Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) between the United States (US) and the European Union (EU) through the now suspended Electrical Safety Annex. Under the terms of this MRA, European laboratories were allowed to submit applications to OSHA for recognition as an NRTL, which OSHA would have processed under its normal procedures. The US/EU MRA did not change OSHA's NRTL application process but only provided a mechanism to address a provision in OSHA regulations that requires OSHA to consider policies on "reciprocity," in determining the eligibility of foreign-based organizations for recognition.
What does the RoHS certification on SoLED Energy, Inc.s mean?
RoHS refers to the EU’s ‘Directive on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment’, commonly referred to as the Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive or RoHS), adopted in February 2003 by the European Union. The RoHS directive took effect on 1 July 2006, and is required to be enforced and become law in each member state. This directive restricts the use of six hazardous materials in the manufacture of various types of electronic and electrical equipment. RoHS is often referred to as the lead-free directive, but it restricts the use of the following six substances:
1. Lead (Pb)
2. Mercury (Hg)
3. Cadmium (Cd)
4. Hexavalent chromium (Cr6+)
5. Polybrominated biphenyls (PBB)
6. Polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE)
PBB and PBDE are flame retardants used in several plastics.