Q & A about CO+

(This means carbon monoxide and the other toxins in the products of combustion)

Any comments or critcisms please email Stephanie Trotter Email office@co-gassafety.co.uk

What is CO?

CO is a deadly gas which can be emitted from appliances powered by any carbon based fuel that burns.

What is the smallest amount of CO in percentage terms that can kill in the shortest time?

Less than 2% can kill in between one and three minutes. http://www.hse.gov.uk/foi/internalops/hid_circs/technical_osd/spc_tech_osd_30/spctecosd30.pdf See Para 74 table 23 page 26

Can CO be sensed by any human senses?

No. Other products of combustion can produce a ‘gassy’ smell.

When is CO emitted?

Insufficient oxygen at the flame or in the mix of gas to create carbon dioxide.

How many fuels can you name that can emit CO when burned?

Gas, including LPG, coal/coke, wood, paper, petrol, diesel, charcoal.

How would you generally describe such fuels (that when burned can emit CO)?

Carbon based fuels.

Is there any fuel that can emit CO when stored rather than burned?

Yes wood chips/pellets in store – see http://annhyg.oxfordjournals.org/content/56/7/755.full?sid=27f48497-532d-4585-9745-ed660da1b2f9

Can a cold-to-the-touch barbecue emit CO?

Yes death of Hazel Woodhams and near death of Roland Wessling. Although they both knew about CO and had a CO alarm at home, they didn’t think this could cause death or injury in a modern tent.

How many CO deaths and how many people attend A & E with CO does the Department of Health state occur in England & Wales each year?

50 deaths and around 4,000 attend A & E. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/carbon-monoxide-poisoning-sends-4-000-people-to-a-e-each-year

Are all dead bodies automatically tested for CO?


Are bodies automatically tested for CO, when there is an unexplained death?

No. Not even in cases of unexplained death and there are 3.400 of these every year according to the New Scientist Killer with no name December 2004.

Does every known CO death have to have an inquest in England, Wales and N. Ireland?

Yes with a jury.

What about Scotland?

There is no Coronial system in Scotland. There is a system of Fatal Accident inquiries (which is more rigorous) but these are rare..

Who helps victims and their families after a death or serious injury?

Various charities do their best. HSE is the prosecuting authority but prosecution is rare except in death. In any case prosecution is not victim support.

Is CO the only toxin in the products of combustion?

No see https://www.co-gassafety.co.uk/other_toxins.html Victim group CO+SAVI has decided to call all the toxins CO+. Deaths and injuries from CO+ are unknown but are very likely to be thousands per year see http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/84/7/editorial30706html/en/

How do CO and other Toxins impact on the UK Population? In other words how many deaths and injuries are caused by CO+ a year in the UK?

CO+Savi (group of victims and victim groups) suggests that the following statement(s) is/are being used instead or at least in conjunction with any existing numbers in presentations, press releases, publications, etc

Short Version

There is currently no conclusive and comprehensive way of accurately establishing the actual number of people harmed to whatever level by carbon monoxide and other toxins (CO+ for short).

It is recognised that there are many sources of data collated over the years. However, this data is scientifically inconclusive at this point in time. We know that some people can suffer temporary illness, irreversible chronic ill health or death as a consequence of exposure to either low-level, chronic and high-level, acute CO+ poisoning. Unfortunately, we do not know how many more are affected and we have no way of objectively and responsibly estimating the true figures.