NORTHBROOK, Ill., Oct. 24, 2012 — UL (Underwriters Laboratories), a world leader in advancing safety science, launched "New Science," a powerful initiative showcasing important ways UL is making the world safer through fundamental discovery, testing methodologies and equipment, software and standards. UL's "New Science" demonstrates the growing complexity in fire safety, indoor air quality and transaction security through journals detailing UL's innovations, videos addressing new challenges and risks, and graphics which summarize each key area released today at UL.com/NewScience .
"As technological innovation continues to transform the world we live in, we find that progress comes with a cost: new risks," said Clyde Kofman, Chief Strategy Officer at UL. "'New Science' demonstrates how UL continues to evolve the science of safety to address these new and emerging challenges."
Information featured at UL.com/NewScience highlights UL's science-backed solutions in the following areas:
Fire Safety: For more than a century, UL has been focused on fire safety with the goal of helping reduce loss of life and prevent fires. However, with the world evolving rapidly, new challenges are constantly emerging. Today a house fire can become uncontrollable in less than three minutes. Modern homes reach flashover eight times faster than homes built 50 years ago.1 Use of photovoltaic systems as a new energy generation source is growing at a rate of 30 percent annually due to governmental incentives and rising traditional energy costs.2 The lithium-ion battery market is projected to reach $10 billion by 2014. 3
From detection and reaction to containment and suppression, all these conditions create a complex ecosystem that requires dedicated research, expertise and attention, which is why UL is focusing on developing new science to help manufacturers, firefighters and homeowners understand, prevent and mitigate the risks involved.
Indoor Air Quality: Today, we encounter more chemicals at home and at work than ever before. In fact, indoor air quality has been ranked as one of the Environmental Protection Agency's Top 5 environmental risks to public health.4 Air pollutants are two to 10 times higher indoors than outdoors5, and childhood asthma rates have increased 160 percent in the past two decades. What's more, a recent study found that the allergen level in super insulated homes is 200 percent higher than it is in ordinary homes. There are more than 80,000 chemicals used in commerce today, but only 3 percent of them have been fully evaluated for adverse health effects.6
As people encounter more chemicals at home, at school and at work, it is critical that UL's new science identifies them and develops technologies to address rapidly changing societal, environmental and health needs.
Transaction Security: Technology has created a new type of crime, which is now pervasive in the wireless world in which we live. The direct costs associated with global consumer hacking are calculated at $110 billion over the past 12 months.7 With an average growth rate of 42 percent per year, we are approaching a tipping point in mobile payments. In 2012, mobile payments will total more than $171.5 billion, and by 2016, 448 million people will make mobile transactions.
Technology has given rise to a whole new world of opportunities for fraud, hacking and theft. Innovations in transactions have created new challenges related to interoperability, reliability and efficiency. Consumers, merchants, third-party processors, wireless carriers and financial institutions all play a role. With so many audiences involved, the risk of confusion increases should something go wrong with a transaction. Across a number of companies and governments, UL is helping organizations stay ahead of the game by driving a better understanding of the new transaction technologies.
"Product innovation, technological advances and globalization will continue to have a profound impact on the way we live our lives," said Kofman. "While progress is an unstoppable force that carries our society forward, we at UL, will continue to support business evolution in the global marketplace to reduce risk and advance safety in a changing world."
For more information on UL's New Science, visit UL.com/NewScience .
UL is a premier global safety science company with more than 100 years of proven history. Employing nearly 9,000 professionals in 46 countries, UL is evolving the future of safety with five distinct business units - Product Safety, Environment, Life & Health, Verification and Knowledge Services - to meet the expanding needs of customers and the global public. For more information on UL's family of companies and network of 95 laboratory, testing, and certification facilities, go to UL.com.
1 "Comparison of Modern and Legacy Home Furnishings," UL Experiment, Nov. 2009. Web: 12 Oct. 2012. https://www.ul.com/room_fire/room_fire.html .
2 "Firefighter Safety and Photovoltaic Installations Research Project," UL Research Paper. Web: 12 Oct. 2012. http://www.ul.com/global/documents/offerings/industries/buildingmaterials/fireservice/PV-FF_Safety_ExecutiveSummary.pdf .
3 "Lithium Batteries: Markets and Materials," Report FCB02E, October 2009. http://www.bccresearch.com .
4 "U.S. EPA/Office of Air and Radiation, "The Inside Story: A Guide to Indoor Air Quality." http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/insidestory.html . Web. 12 Oct. 2012.
5 Resources, FAQ, AQS.com, http://www.aqs.com/resources/faq . Web. 12 Oct. 2012.
6 Interiors & Sources, "Airing on the side of Caution." http://www.interiorsandsources.com/tabid/3339/ArticleID/14094/Default.aspx .
7 "2012 Norton Study: Consumer Cybercrime Estimated at $110 Billion Annually," Press Release, 5 Sept. 2012, Web: 12 Oct.2012. http://www.symantec.com/about/news/release/article.jsp?prid=20120905_02 .