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newsrel -- Carbon Monoxide: A Winter’s Health Threat

Posted: 20 Jan 2011 10:59:30
How to protect yourself and family from this deadly indoor


Esta prensa de nota está disponible en español a:

Carbon Monoxide: A Winter’s Health Threat 

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Appliances using natural gas should be inspected and carbon
monoxide detectors installed

SACRAMENTO - The Air Resources Board is urging Californians to
guard against carbon-monoxide poisoning by having detectors
installed and gas appliances inspected before the cold weather

On average each year about 35 Californians and 450 people
nationally die from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning, and
many more experience flu-like symptoms from exposure to harmful
but non-lethal levels of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a
colorless, odorless gas that blocks the use of oxygen in the
body. Young children and individuals with heart disease are those
most likely to be affected by carbon monoxide poisoning. Warning
signs of exposure to carbon monoxide are headache, drowsiness,
nausea and inability to concentrate; these symptoms will go away
when the affected person is removed from the area and given fresh

"Carbon monoxide is a silent killer, and tragically takes lives
in California every year without warning,” said ARB Chairman Mary
Nichols.  “We can prevent those unnecessary deaths.  It’s a
simple step to protect your family by installing detectors and
having your local utility check your house for leaks."

More than half of all carbon monoxide poisoning deaths are from
malfunctioning or improperly vented combustion appliances in
homes. ARB recommends:

    * Properly use and maintain any appliances that produce a
flame, such as gas furnaces and gas and propane space heaters;
this can prevent exposure to lethal levels of carbon monoxide.
    * Never use gas ovens to heat the home;
    * Never use kerosene or propane space heaters, charcoal
grills, barbecues, or unvented gas logs indoors. These are
dangerous and cannot be used legally in California homes;
    * Use caution when heating with propane appliances, older
wall or floor gas furnaces and fireplaces;
    * Obtain annual check-ups of all gas appliances by a
qualified professional;
    * Use Underwriters Laboratory approved carbon monoxide
detectors that sound an alarm when dangerous carbon monoxide
levels are found; some also have warning signals or digital
readouts to indicate lower levels of carbon monoxide that may
indicate an appliance problem;
    * Place emergency generators outdoors and away from windows
and doors to prevent fumes from entering the home; and,
    * Be especially careful with appliances in recreational
vehicles and houseboats, and be sure to use carbon monoxide
detectors specifically made for these locations. 

In addition, do not to operate cars or other internal combustion
engines in enclosed spaces or attached garages.

A third of carbon monoxide poisoning deaths are the result of
accidental exposure from vehicles running in closed garages.

ARB data show that outdoor carbon monoxide levels rise throughout
California between the months of November and March because of
little or no breeze which causes stagnant weather conditions.
These levels have been measured in covered garages and at busy
intersections. Rising levels of outdoor carbon monoxide may
generate health complaints in sensitive people.

For more information on indoor combustion pollutants, see our
indoor air quality guideline entitled "Combustion Pollutants in
Your Home" at:

The Air Resources Board is a department of the California
Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and
protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through
effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and
considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air
pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain
health based air quality standards.

Office of Communications 1001 I Street, Sacramento CA 95814. Ph:
(916) 322-2990

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