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New UL Testing Program Could Make Hoverboards Safer

by James Eng /

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Reports of hoverboards exploding or catching fire could soon be a thing of the past.

UL, the company that does federally recognized safety testing and certification of consumer products, announced Tuesday that manufacturers of self-balancing scooters can now submit their product for evaluation. While UL has tested battery cells, chargers and power supplies as individual components for years, this is the first time that the entire hoverboard will be tested as a system for electrical and fire safety.

"As recent news has shown us, there is a strong need for this type of service, and today we are pleased to offer our testing and certification services to manufacturers and distributors," Jeff Smidt, vice president and general manager for UL’s Energy and Power Technologies division, said in a press release.

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Products that pass testing will be listed in UL's online certifications directory.

"A UL certification means the product has been tested to safety standards by an independent, third-party organization whose safety mark is the most recognized safety mark in the world," John Drengenberg, UL’s consumer safety director, told NBC News by email.

Related: Safety Official Warns Hoverboard Users to Have Fire Extinguisher Handy

Meanwhile, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission continues to investigate a number of companies that make or sell hoverboards. The commission said last month that it is looking into at least 48 hoverboard fires in 20 states, focusing on the devices' lithium-ion battery packs as well as their interaction with the circuit boards inside the units.

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