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Surprising Statistics on Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

By Renee Nordstrand on September 17, 2009

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5650a1.htm

According to the Center for Disease Control, unintentional Carbon Monoxide exposure accounts for an estimated 15,000 ER visits and 500 unintentional deaths in the United States each year (statistics current through 2004).  California alone had 115 deaths from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning from 1999-2004.

With such large numbers of people affected by carbon monoxide poisoning (including the many additional cases that go unreported), it is alarming that education-based measures are sparse at both state and national levels.

The Center for Disease Control Study found that adults over age 65 were most at risk for contracting carbon monoxide poisoning, and that the average daily number of carbon monoxide related deaths were in January, because in the cold, winter months, there is an increased use of gas-powered furnaces.  

Further, men contracted carbon monoxide poisoning at a higher rate than women, which the CDC attributes to male high-risk behaviors such as working with fuel-burning tools or appliances.

The CDC recommends that carbon monoxide poisoning can be prevented by proper installation and maintenance of fuel-burning appliances, as well as by installing a carbon monoxide detector in every home.  Currently, California has not passed legislation to mandate the use of carbon monoxide detectors in homes.

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