Brown Sponsors Measure to Raise Awareness of Deadly Carbon Monoxide
HARRISBURG – To help raise awareness of the dangers of potentially fatal carbon monoxide gas, Rep. Rosemary M. Brown (R-Monroe/Pike) today secured House passage in support of legislation she sponsored to designate November 2012 as Carbon Monoxide Awareness Month in Pennsylvania.
“Tragically, our area was hit hard by the dangers of carbon monoxide when four young people died in 2008 and an elderly couple succumbed after using a generator after Hurricane Irene,” Brown said. “Whether residents are using traditional heating sources like fireplaces or furnaces, supplemental space heaters or generators at remote locations or during power outages, carbon monoxide can be deadly. The most tragic part about carbon monoxide deaths is that this is completely preventable.”
As approved by the state House of Representatives, House Resolution 815 recognizes November 2012 as Carbon Monoxide Awareness Month.
Carbon monoxide, also known as CO, is produced by furnaces, common household appliances, vehicles, generators, fireplaces and other systems that are powered by the burning of fuel, including natural gas, propane, gasoline, oil and wood. It is known as the “silent killer” because it is a colorless, odorless and tasteless poisonous gas that can be fatal when inhaled.
“Because the weather gets cooler and people are turning to both traditional and supplemental heat sources, November is the best time to raise awareness for carbon monoxide poisoning,” Brown said. “It is also a good time to install carbon monoxide detectors and to check their batteries to ensure they are working properly.”
According to a 2007 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pennsylvania leads the nation in accidental CO poisoning deaths. Nearly 50 people die each year from CO poisoning and more than 20,000 people are treated in emergency rooms annually.
In addition, the Mayo Clinic has reported that 51 percent of all CO poisoning cases involve children age 6 and younger. In older adults who have pre-existing health conditions that affect the heart, lungs and/or the circulatory system, the presence of one or more of these conditions lowers a victim’s tolerance and increases the risk of fatal carbon monoxide exposure.
Brown said that public education and awareness about CO poisonings are critical in alerting residents about the dangers of this deadly gas and the risk factors in the home. Carbon monoxide alarms have been determined to be the most effective way to detect carbon monoxide, and there is a dramatic correlation between carbon monoxide alarm ordinances in cities and lower death rates from carbon monoxide.
State Representative Rosemary M. Brown
189th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Jennifer Keaton