Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week Begins Today
SACRAMENTO, Calif., Nov. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- California's second annual Carbon Monoxide (CO) Awareness Week begins today and safety experts across the state are urging families to take steps to help protect themselves from this deadly gas, which often strikes when weather turns cool.
Odorless, colorless and tasteless, carbon monoxide is often referred to as the "Silent Killer," and is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in America, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Initial symptoms of CO poisoning mimic the flu and can include dizziness, headache, nausea and disorientation.
Data from the LA County Department of Public Health shows that California had 232 fatal CO poisonings between 2001 and 2006. In addition, the California Air Resources Board reports that unintentional CO poisonings cause on average between 175 and 700 avoidable emergency room visits every year.
"As winter approaches, most Californians begin using some type of indoor heating source," said State Fire Marshal Kate Dargan. "If those heating sources malfunction, carbon monoxide can quickly build up and poison those inside. Families using any type of fuel-burning appliance or tool should have a device to alert them of dangerous carbon monoxide gas."
U.S. Census data shows 74 percent of California households use some form of fossil fuel, such as gas, fuel oil, or kerosene, as a heat source -- all of which can emit carbon monoxide. Stephen McCombs of Chatsworth is one such homeowner.
"In the winter of 2006, our heating system malfunctioned, causing CO to
build up in my ho
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