wood burning

ESA Issues Warning on the Dangers of Lichtenberg Generators

Mississauga, ON – July 15, 2021 — With five fatalities and one critical injury in the last several years within the province, the Electrical Safety Authority of Ontario (ESA) is warning against using high voltage energy sources such as microwave oven transformers or similar components to manufacture fractal wood-burning devices called Lichtenberg generators.  

While used to create art and abstract objects by burning fractal patterns into various materials such as wood and acrylic, these generators are extremely dangerous. They contain live accessible wiring components and are unsafe for any use or handling. Both homemade and pre-built Lichtenberg generators are considered to have the potential to seriously injure and/or kill the user.  

Lichtenberg generators may also have counterfeit electrical safety approval labels applied to them to falsely indicate they are safe and approved.  

Despite what consumers see on the Internet or how these generators are marketed, it is critical to understand that they are unapproved by Certification Bodies / Inspection bodies applicable to Canadian consumers and have not been evaluated or tested to any known electrical safety standards for this type of product. 

Resulting deaths and injuries are completely preventable but are increasing in frequency.  There have been two fatalities involving these devices in the past three months in Ontario.    
Consumers should never attempt to build a Lichtenberg Generator and any that exist in the marketplace or are offered for sale should be considered unsafe and reported to ESA or Health Canada immediately.  

ESA – 1-877-ESA-SAFE

Health Canada

About the Electrical Safety Authority

The Electrical Safety Authority's (ESA’s) role is to enhance public electrical safety in Ontario. As an administrative authority acting on behalf of the Government of Ontario, ESA is responsible for administering specific regulations related to the Ontario Electrical Safety Code, the licensing of Electrical Contractors and Master Electricians, electricity distribution system safety, and electrical product safety. ESA works extensively with stakeholders throughout the province on education, training and promotion to foster electrical safety across the province.

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