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 NORTHBROOK, Ill., Nov. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Consumers have a new tool to help them identify electrical holiday decorations tested to national safety standards -- a holographic label. Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL), the not-for-profit product safety testing and certification organization, uncovered a few instances of holiday decorations with counterfeit -- or phony -- UL certification Marks last year.
 UL developed the new holographic label to help deter unauthorized use of the UL Mark. Holographic material is easy for consumers to identify and more difficult for counterfeiters to forge. The new label will appear on decorations such as candle lights and illuminated ornaments -- the product categories affected by last year's counterfeiting, according to UL field representatives.
 "UL takes all the appropriate steps to protect the integrity of its Mark," says Bob Levine, UL vice president - Follow-Up Services. "Last year's counterfeiting instances involved less than a fraction of 1 percent of the 6.2 billion Marks placed on products each year. Although very few of those instances were associated with any potential safety hazard, we realize any counterfeiting can affect the confidence that consumers have in UL. That's why we developed the holographic label."
 When UL field representatives found counterfeit labels last year, they confiscated those phony labels whenever possible to help prevent those mis-marked products from reaching the marketplace. UL also issued a public notice to warn consumers of the counterfeiting and possible safety hazards.
 "Counterfeiters and consumers should know," adds Levine, "that in addition to these holographic labels, UL field representatives will continue to randomly select samples from factories and stores so UL engineers can verify that products bearing the UL Mark continue to meet UL's Standards for Safety and requirements."
 The holographic labels are in a transition period for the 1993 holiday season. According to Levine, many decorations for sale this season were already in inventory with authorized UL Marks when UL introduced the new labels. So, consumers may find either the familiar tan and yellow labels previously used on these products or the new holographic labels.
 The new labels have a silver base, UL Marks and print in black, with multicolored shapes and UL Marks which appear to "float" in the background.
 Decorative light strings, often referred to as Christmas tree lights, are not affected by this label change and will continue to bear a red (indoor and outdoor use light strings) or green (indoor use only light strings) UL label.
 The UL Listing Mark, featured on the label, means that representative samples of the product have been tested to and met nationally recognized safety standards concerning risks of fire, shock and related hazards. Consumers have looked for the UL Mark on products they buy for nearly a century.
 -0- 11/23/93
 /CONTACT: Sara Payne, 708-272-8800, ext. 43436, or Holly Schubert, 708-272-8800, ext. 42659, both of Underwriters Laboratories/

CO: Underwriters Laboratories Inc. ST: Illinois IN: HOU SU: PDT

MP-TW -- NY028 -- 7212 11/23/93 11:00 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 23, 1993

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