Carbon monoxide dangers are greater than you might think – every year, this odorless and colorless gas kills over 500 people in the US alone, with up to 30,0000 others sick from the fumes. Many people are affected in their homes, and if you have drywall in your house, you are at even more of a risk, as the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) recently discovered that carbon monoxide can pass through this material.
Of course, one of the best ways to warn yourself of the potential carbon monoxide dangers is to have a carbon monoxide alarm installed, although as of 2012 only half the states had this requirement. However, homeowners or tenants in 10 states who don’t have an internal source of carbon monoxide in their homes are exempt from these requirements. This loophole worries several experts, including Seattle based physicist and the author of the JAMA study, Neil Hampson, and Eric Lavonas, director of the Colorado based Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center. Both make the same point that it is quite possible to be sickened, or even die, from your neighbor’s carbon monoxide leak, if you live in an apartment or a multi family dwelling. In 2002, an ice storm cut off the power in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, which led to over 120 cases of carbon monoxide poisoning over the next week. Almost all of these cases were in homes without a working carbon monoxide alarm. This followed a recent ruling in the county that carbon monoxide alarms could be operated by electricity, and some residences without an attached garage were exempt. Following this incident, residents of the county were required to have a back up battery operated alarm.
Despite this and similar cases, and the well publicized carbon monoxide dangers, an estimated 70 percent of homes in the US don’t have a working carbon monoxide alarm. Not only is a working alarm essential, it is the law in some communities, and you should make sure your alarm still works if the power goes out. Knowing the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning is important too. Follow us for more informative articles on heating, air conditioning and other home needs.