It’s silent, deadly and can lurk in your home while your family sleeps. Dubbed the “silent killer,” carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless and poisonous gas that kills 500 people and sends 20,000 more to the hospital each year.
NORTHBROOK, Ill., Jan. 27, 2010 – It’s silent, deadly and can lurk in your home while your family sleeps. Dubbed the "silent killer," carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless and poisonous gas that kills 500 people and sends 20,000 more to the hospital each year. While 60 percent of Americans say they are more confident they can prevent CO poisoning than a serious fall down the stairs at home, the results from a recent survey by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) tell a different story.
The safety testing organization’s survey results reveal consumers may not be equipped with the right information to protect themselves and their families from the dangers of CO poisoning: 62 percent couldn’t correctly detect CO poisoning symptoms, which typically result in flu-like symptoms, and 70 percent do not inspect common household sources of CO emission, such as a furnace or hot water heater, at least once a year.
Additional survey results point to the lack of general knowledge about preventing CO poisoning:
"It’s evident we all need to be more aware and take the necessary steps to protect our loved ones from CO poisoning," says John Drengenberg, director of Consumer Safety at UL. "You may not be able to see it, taste it or smell it, but something as simple as installing a CO alarm, knowing what to look for and what to do if your alarm sounds, could make a huge difference in helping prevent unnecessary tragedy."
IDENTIFYING THE "SILENT KILLER"
Drengenberg says that CO is produced and emitted by incomplete burning of fuel, such as propane, kerosene, gasoline, oil, natural gas, wood and charcoal; and because it is odorless and colorless, people can be exposed to CO without even knowing it. However, CO poisoning is avoidable and preventable if the necessary safety measures are taken.
UL recommends a three-part strategy that consumers can easily employ to protect themselves and their loved ones from the poisonous gas: INSPECT, PROTECT and DETECT.
Be alert to danger signs and have a qualified technician INSPECT your home once a year
PROTECT your home by purchasing and installing a CO alarm
Be ready to react when you DETECT a problem
For more information on CO safety tips, go to www.ul.com/consumers.
About Underwriters Laboratories
Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is an independent product safety certification organization that has been testing products and writing Standards for Safety for over a century. For more information, visit About UL.