According to the American Medical Association, carbon monoxide is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the United States. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that carbon monoxide – the “silent killer” – kills approximately 500 people each year and injures another 20,000 people nationwide.
Carbon monoxide is emitted in small amounts from heaters, fireplaces, furnaces and other appliances, but, if working improperly, those appliances can slowly and subtly produce toxic amounts.
Depending on the exposure, carbon monoxide poisoning can have either short term or long term effect and can include mild acute poisoning such as lightheadedness, confusion, headaches, vertigo, and flu-like effects; larger exposures can lead to significant toxicity of the central nervous system and heart, and even death.
Being colorless, odorless, tasteless and initially non-irritating, it is very difficult for people to detect. To prevent such tragic consequences, California signed into law The Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act of 2010 (SB 183) in May 2010.
Beginning July 1, this law will go into effect, requiring homeowners to install carbon monoxide detector in every "dwelling unit intended for human occupancy."
The applicable time periods are as follows:
- All existing single family homes with fossil fuel burning heater or appliance, fireplace, or an attached garage must install the CO detectors by July 1.
- Owners of multi-family leased or rental dwellings, such as apartment buildings, must install the co detectors by January 1, 2013.
The following language comes packaged with carbon monoxide (CO) detectors:
“For minimum security, a CO Alarm should be centrally located outside of each separate sleeping area n the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms. The Alarm should be located at least 6 inches (152mm) from all exterior walls and at least 3 feet (0.9 meters) from supply or return vents.”
Noncompliance can be punishable by a maximum of $200 for each offene if the owner fails to correct the problem 30 days after receiving notice to correct.
Currently, only 10 percent off households have the device, which typically costs $20-$30, is easy to install and can be found in most home improvement and hardware stores.
Similar to, but not the same as the smoke detectors, this is a small investment that really can help save your life and the lives of your loved ones!
For Home Sellers and Buyers - The Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement has been updated to require sellers to disclose whether there are Carbon Monoxide Device(s) in the property.
For more information on carbon monoxide, how to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, CO poisoning symptoms and safety guidelines, please click for Information on Carbon Monoxide on CA Fire website or visit the CAL FIRE Web site at www.fire.ca.gov
(*) Disclaimer - The article is intended to provide general information on the subject. Readers who require specific advice should consult experts in the area of interest.