Aurora, CO – The arguments for mandating the use of carbon monoxide detectors are too compelling to ignore any longer.
The emotionally grieving father of a 23-year-old woman who died recently of carbon monoxide poisoning pleaded with lawmakers earlier this week to require new home and rental properties to install detectors.
Theres simply not a compelling reason not to.
Deaths by carbon monoxide poisoning have been in the news recently, as they often are during cold whether, pointing out how dangerous gas-fired furnaces and water heaters can be, and how inexpensively those deaths can be avoided.
Detectors are available online and in stores for about $20.
Although the deaths arent prolific, the Centers for Disease Control reports that about 500 Americans die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning, theyre especially cruel because death comes without warning or a chance for defense. Unless other exhaust fumes are involved, there is no odor, and those killed are often asleep at the time.
Despite the relatively low number of deaths, many more are estimated to be sickened by malfunctioning heating devices who needlessly suffer. Victims often brush aside symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning because they so closely mimic the usual headaches and cold or flu-like symptoms that everyone deals with each winter season. These symptoms are so easily and frequently overlooked that government officials say the 5,000 people a year who are thought to be injured by carbon monoxide poisoning is vastly underestimated. Carbon monoxide exists in just about every home that has a combustion heating system, and homes with levels of the deadly gas high enough to cause illness but not death are more common than once thought.
Detectors could prevent many from being made ill or injured by alerting people to the presence of the deadly gas.
Since the devices are so inexpensive, state lawmakers should absolutely require their installation in every rented habitation, and especially condos and multi-family complexes.
More importantly, the state should help launch an educational campaign to persuade the public to install the detectors themselves and consider carrying tested portable devices when sleeping away from home.
The campaign to make Americans use smoke detectors has clearly saved untold numbers of lives. Carbon monoxide detector laws can certainly be just as effective, but first they must get passed.