Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Deaths Are on the Rise

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Need to Know from SafeWise
  • The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported an upward trend in carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning deaths.
  • Most CO deaths occur during the cold months of November, December, January, and February.
  • Heating systems and portable generators are the products most responsible for causing carbon monoxide poisoning deaths.
  • Carbon monoxide detectors, alarms, and monitors can save lives and prevent CO poisoning deaths.

Carbon monoxide poisoning deaths in the U.S. are rising and forecasting a troubling upward trend. The data comes from a new report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), tracking U.S. data from 2009 to 2019. The report finds that 2019 had more reported CO deaths than any other year.

“Although multiple factors may contribute to a CO poisoning fatality, the source of CO is virtually always a fuel-burning product,” John Topping, Directorate for Epidemiology in the Division of Hazard Analysis at the USCPSC, writes.

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Installing carbon monoxide detectors in your home is the best way to prevent CO poisoning death. Because carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and poisonous gas, CO detectors can be your only warning when dangerous levels of the gas are detected in your home.

Many Americans are worried about CO poisoning, according to a SafeWise survey, but installing carbon monoxide monitors throughout your home is the first—and most important—step to protecting your family.

CO poisoning occurs around the country

The SafeWise State of Safety report found that carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the most common injuries in U.S. homes. Alaska, Wyoming, and Montana all reported high fatality rates from CO poisoning.

Unfortunately, this makes sense. People in colder states are more likely to experience CO poisoning deaths because portable generators and heating systems, used to keep warm during the winter, are associated with most CO poisoning deaths in the U.S.

The USCPSC found that the U.S.’s northeast region has the lowest CO poisoning deaths while the south and mountain west have the highest average. SafeWise also found that states in the northern part of the U.S. with high altitudes see more deaths from CO poisoning.

How to prevent CO poisoning in the home

Since 2009, CO poisoning-related deaths have jumped 66.7% in the U.S., according to the USCPSC report, which also found a “significant upward trend in non-fire CO deaths.”

Portable generators and heaters are most to blame for this increase, but everyday household items like stoves, furnaces, water heaters, and cars also emit carbon monoxide into the air. That’s why installing smoke detectors and carbon monoxide monitors on each level of your home and near bedrooms is essential.

To prevent CO poisoning in your home, install a carbon monoxide detector, do not run your car in the garage, ensure proper ventilation for gas-powered tools, and do not heat your home with a gas stove.

Alex Kerai
Written by
Alex began writing for student newspapers and has managed to turn that into a career. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he wrote about small businesses for Biz2Credit and Business.org. Before that, he spent time in communications for higher education institutions, created marketing materials for nonprofits, and worked for entertainment companies in Los Angeles. Today, he reports on emerging consumer trends and his work can be seen on The Penny Hoarder, SafeWise, Business.org, Reviews.org, Move.org, WhistleOut.com, CableTV.com, HighSpeedInternet.com, and SatelliteInternet.com. When he's not writing, Alex watches too much TV, plays guitar, reads and writes fiction, and goes on nature walks.

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