It’s time for action against the silent killer in our homes

Good quality outdoor air is vital. But Brits spend around 90% of their time indoors*1. The most important avoidable contaminants of indoor air are the products of combustion, including the silent killer, carbon monoxide (CO).

What is carbon monoxide (CO)?

CO is a deadly gas that can be emitted from faulty cooking and heating appliances powered by any carbon-based fuel that burns. Fuels include wood, gas, coal, petrol and diesel.

CO cannot be sensed using human senses of smell, taste, sight or touch.

Less than 2% of CO in the air can kill or maim in between one and three minutes.*2

CO symptoms mimic those of viruses including Covid-19, so usually GPs don’t even think about CO.

If a survivor’s blood or breath is tested, the CO will usually have disappeared, so testing living people can lead to dangerous false negatives. It’s wiser to test the air the survivor was exposed to and find the source.

Over 3 million citizens are exposed to levels above 50 parts per million of CO in the UK alone.

Extrapolating from respected university research in 2006 and 2011, more than 3 million people are exposed to levels above 50 parts per million (PPM) of CO in their UK homes*3. WHO guidelines for 24 hours are 6 PPM. The known deaths and injuries cost the UK taxpayer £178 million a year *4.

CO causes brain damage including dementia.

Exposure to CO above the WHO guidelines can cause brain damage, including a 1.6 x higher risk of dementia in those exposed to CO*5.

How could CO be proved?

The gas emergency service could relight gas appliances and provide a free sweep test for CO under BS 7967. HSE has recommended testing by the gas emergency service described by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath as a ‘no brainer’, Why won’t HSE take action?

Trials have been undertaken by Northern Gas Networks*6; testing would add under 7 minutes to each visit. Ofgem has the funds to pay for it – to give survivors and their medics confirmed proof.

Why don’t MPs take action?

Because it’s a Catch 22 – to prove CO, you have to prove exposure to CO, which is invisible and cannot be sensed by human senses. Proof and therefore data are virtually impossible. Please watch our 1 minute film on our website about Sue who had carbon monoxide poisoning. Sue’s medics thought she had been taking cocaine!

Survivors say that not being able to prove exposure to CO, even to medics and family, is worse than their life changing injuries. Lack of proof leads to lack of awareness and safety improvements.

121 MPs signed EDM 1032 urging testing in 2007. A safe appliance is energy efficient.

The charity CO-Gas Safety considers that the changes it seeks on behalf of victims/survivors are blindingly obvious and have been for decades. Indoor air contaminated by CO is a worldwide problem.

Surely testing for CO is an easy win for Boris to show leadership at COP26?

References

*1 https://road.cc/content/news/217728-brits-spend-92-all-their-time-indoors

*2 http://www.hse.gov.uk/foi/internalops/hid_circs/technical_osd/spc_tech_osd_30/spctecosd30.pdf (see Para 74 table 23 page 26).

*3  https://www.co-gassafety.co.uk/about-co/numbers-affected-by-co/

*4  https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmselect/cmcomloc/50/50iii132.htm

*5  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4706265/

*6  http://www.northerngasnetworks.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Giving-carbon-monoxide-nowhere-to-hide.pdf

Stephanie Trotter OBE is a barrister and President/Director of the independent, registered charity, CO-Gas Safety. For more information about CO-Gas Safety please visit www.co-gassafety.co.uk or contact Stephanie via email at office@co-gassafety.co.uk

Also see PDF version here.

Summer CO warning

Focus this week:

 

  1. Holiday cottages + signs & symptoms
  2. Pack An Alarm
  3. Get appliances serviced and chimney swept (…warming up for Gas Safety Week on 13 – 19 Sept)

 

Last week’s Top Tweet

 

Craig Drinkald, Cumbria FRS, with an impressive 9 re-tweets!

https://twitter.com/CCfrs/status/1424717209717383175

 

Key Assets:

 

  • Factsheets > COS4S – Staying Safe
  • Social Media > COAW – Product Social Posts
  • Attached BBQ post from The Camping and Caravanning Club (final shout to campers!)
  • YouTube video on the way – keep an eye out!

 

Hashtags:

 

#CarbonMonoxideSafe4Summer

#CarbonMonoxide

#GreatBritishSummer

#PackAnAlarm

 

#HolidayHome

#HolidayLet

#HolidaySafety

#Speak2aSweep

#Fireplace

#GasAppliance

#Cottage

@StoveIndustry @ChimneySkills

 

Media since last week:

 

Yachting Monthly: “Why an activated carbon monoxide alarm may indicate a battery charging issue”

https://www.yachtingmonthly.com/gear/why-an-activated-carbon-monoxide-alarm-may-indicate-a-battery-charging-issue-79661

 

USA: “Carbon monoxide, or “CO” is an odorless, colorless gas that can kill you. How can you keep yourself and family safe? Dr. Hughes explains”

https://www.spreaker.com/user/wiba/wwpodcast_2

 

Argentina: “Two sisters, 26 and 19, were found dead in an apartment with a 23-year-old companion after “inhaling carbon monoxide from a broken boiler.”

https://eminetra.co.uk/two-sisters-26-and-19-were-found-dead-in-an-apartment-with-a-23-year-old-companion-after-inhaling-carbon-monoxide-from-a-broken-boiler/631508/

 

 

Selection of support:

 

Sorcha Holloway (founder of UK Wine Hour): Please re-tweet!

https://twitter.com/SorchaHolloway/status/1424737792991678467

 

Barnsley Council: https://twitter.com/BarnsleyCouncil/status/1424717104197025792

 

Energy National Action Carbon Monoxide advice page: https://www.energynetworks.org/keeping-you-safe/carbon-monoxide-awareness

 

Lake District Foundation: https://twitter.com/lakesfoundation/status/1424279348828418050

 

IGEM: https://twitter.com/IGEMGi/status/1424701776666767364

 

Project Shout: https://twitter.com/ProjectShoutCo/status/1425105946360098827

 

National Carbon Monoxide Awareness Association:

https://twitter.com/NCOAA/status/1426216492153151488

 

Thank you all!

 

Latest Safe 4 Summer update by All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group

Focus this week:

 

  1. Boat risks + signs & symptoms
  2. Pack An Alarm

 

Last week’s Top Tweets

 

Thanks to all who raised up the Lake District Foundation’s tweet to 12 re-tweets! https://twitter.com/lakesfoundation/status/1421380229617102849

There is now a Lake District Foundation CO Advice page…! https://www.lakedistrictfoundation.org/carbon-monoxide/

 

Independent top tweet from FireBlitz & Firehawk: https://twitter.com/fireblitzuk/status/1422195437008736259

 

Dates to note:

 

Thursday 12 August – International Youth Day: https://www.un.org/en/observances/youth-day

 

Hashtags:

 

#CarbonMonoxideSafe4Summer

#CarbonMonoxide

#GreatBritishSummer

#BoatsThatTweet #PowerBoat #Boating #NarrowBoat

#YouthDay #InternationalYouthDay2021

 

Key Assets:

 

  • Safety Tips poster
  • Anything boat related! BBQs, Alarms, Signs and Symptoms (+ your own nautical caption)

 

Media since last week:

 

Lake District Foundation Advice page: https://www.lakedistrictfoundation.org/carbon-monoxide/

 

An awareness raising competition in Jersey for young people aged 5-18 years closes midnight on Friday 17th September 2021 (supported by Cadent): https://www.co-gassafety.co.uk/resources/competition-jersey/

 

“People urged to stay ‘carbon monoxide safe’ this summer” – Wales 247: https://www.wales247.co.uk/people-urged-to-stay-carbon-monoxide-safe-this-summer

 

“How carbon monoxide poisoning can affect boaters and swimmers” w/Luis Lopez: https://kyma.com/news/arizona-news/2021/08/08/how-carbon-monoxide-poisoning-can-affect-boaters-and-swimmers/

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fANYO9tpWK4

 

“22 in Omaha home treated for carbon monoxide poisoning” https://apnews.com/article/health-poisoning-carbon-monoxide-poisoning-omaha-a68d9f3008df1093a8ea7db5b158e640

 

The Camping and Caravan Club video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_CV2wxvFxM

 

Selection of stakeholder Support:

 

Public Health Wales: https://twitter.com/PublicHealthW/status/1423916949264818177

 

The CIPHE: https://twitter.com/CIPHE/status/1423559484446814208

 

Lake District Foundation: https://twitter.com/lakesfoundation/status/1424279348828418050

 

NI Direct: https://twitter.com/nidirect/status/1424332310191747074

 

Project SHOUT: https://twitter.com/ProjectShoutCo/status/1422599430314860552

 

Hourglass Cymru: https://twitter.com/HourglassCymru/status/1422859974800248840

 

Wales&West Utilities: https://twitter.com/WWUtilities/status/1423290212046704666

 

United Against CO: https://twitter.com/UnitedAgainstCO/status/1423274100475240450

 

HETAS: https://twitter.com/hetas_uk/status/1422467367003697320

 

SweepSmart: https://twitter.com/EnfieldChimneys/status/1424098338383740930

 

Thank you all!

 

CO Summer Safety – Latest bulletin from APPCOG (All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group)

Focus this week:

 

Campsite risks + signs & symptoms

Pack An Alarm – CO-Gas Safety advises an alarm to EN 50291 bought direct from reputable supplier e.g. supermarket or DIY store – more reliable than the Internet.  Please don’t forget to get them out of the box and set them up – some need a tab pulled to get the batteries connected.

 

Last week’s Top Tweet

 

eBay will stop selling black spot CO detectors: https://twitter.com/APPCOG_UK/status/1417785378866671616

Dates to note:

 

It is now the school holidays for the UK

 

23 July – 1 August is Love Parks Week! https://www.keepbritaintidy.org/get-involved/support-our-campaigns/love-parks-week

 

Key Assets:

 

BBQ safety: COS4S21 Asset Kit > Social Media > COS4S – Barbecue Posts

 

Alarms: COS4S21 Asset Kit > Social Media > COS4S – Product Social Posts

 

COS4S ‘Out of Home’: COS4S21 Asset Kit > Factsheets

 

Media since last update:

 

Gas Engineer Mag: “eBay to halt sales of ‘black spot’ CO detectors”

https://registeredgasengineer.co.uk/ebay-to-halt-sales-of-black-spot-co-detectors/

 

England, Cumbria: “Person taken to hospital after carbon monoxide detected in Whitehaven house”: https://cumbriacrack.com/2021/07/19/person-taken-to-hospital-after-carbon-monoxide-detected-in-whitehaven-house/

 

USA, Boston: “A Lynnfield apartment building was evacuated due to high levels of carbon monoxide Friday night”: https://whdh.com/news/residents-evacuated-from-lynnfield-apartment-building-due-to-high-levels-of-carbon-monoxide/

 

Morocco: “Eid Al-Adha: Health Ministry Warns Against Carbon Monoxide Poisoning”: https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2021/07/343511/eid-al-adha-health-ministry-warns-against-carbon-monoxide-poisoning

 

Broken Arrow family raising carbon monoxide poisoning awareness following son’s death on boat: https://www.fox23.com/news/local/broken-arrow-family-raising-carbon-monoxide-poisoning-awareness-following-sons-death-boat/ST5EXFJIDRAEZPKV65E7GBCW4U/

 

Safe Boating campaign page: https://safeboatingcampaign.com/co-danger/

 

USA, Iowa: “Department of Natural Resources is asking boaters to be aware of carbon monoxide poisoning while on the water” https://cbs2iowa.com/news/local/dnr-reminding-people-to-be-aware-of-carbon-monoxide-poisoning-while-boating

 

Campaign Support (new orgs only):

 

Public Health Wales: https://twitter.com/PublicHealthW/status/1415951879859748868

 

Lake District Foundation:

https://twitter.com/lakesfoundation/status/1418843473520828421

 

FireBlitz & FireHawk: https://twitter.com/fireblitzuk/status/1418912935313879046

 

Safe Lincs: https://twitter.com/safelincs/status/1416291704051802114

 

Edu Begins at Home: https://twitter.com/edubeginsathome/status/1418180304666251264

 

Binley Fire Station: https://twitter.com/WMFSBinley/status/1416369806148841476

 

Project Shout: https://twitter.com/ProjectShoutCo/status/1418223612146769933

 

FireAngel:

https://twitter.com/fireangelsafety/status/1418209628593135619

 

 

Hashtags and accounts to tag:

 

#CarbonMonoxideSafe4Summer

#CarbonMonoxide

#Camping #Campsite #Tent #Caravan

#Summer #Holiday

#GreatBritishSummer

Love Parks Week: #LoveParks, #ProtectParks, #RespectParks

 

@KeepBritainTidy

@CampAndCaravan

@Camping_Direct

@cool_camping

@PitchUp

@MallettsTruro

 

Jersey Maritime Safety Week features CO-Gas Safety competition and a new podcast highlighting CO dangers on boats

To mark Maritime Safety Week 2021, which was 5-10th July, Jersey Coastguard staff shared informative videos on the Ports of Jersey’s inaugural podcast channel. They featured three episodes highlighting maritime safety, including an interview with Jersey resident Margaret Jeffery – whose husband died of carbon-monoxide poisoning on board his boat in Jersey in 2017.  We were delighted that our own President, Stephanie Trotter, was also invited to contribute to this podcast, as well as Chris Robinson from Jersey Coastguard.

Margaret kindly supports CO-Gas Safety and allowed us to share his story as one of our case studies, which can be found here

The Ports of Jersey podcast can be found here: https://portsofjersey.podbean.com/e/the-dangers-of-carbon-monoxide/

Other Jersey Maritime Safety Week events included a two-day public roadshow to highlight a series of sea-safety messages.  the harbour authorities and many others in Jersey are also kindly featuring a competition that CO-Gas Safety have launched for Jersey Young People aged 5-18 years old, details of which can be found here

Carbon Monoxide Safe 4 Summer Campaign!

This is week three of the #CarbonMonoxideSafe4Summer campaign!

 

A special thank you to Barry Sheerman MP for launching the campaign and sharing excellent coverage! https://barrysheerman.co.uk/2021/06/25/carbon-monoxide-safe4summer-campaign/

 

Thank so much to all those who have been supporting us on social media. There has been some excellent campaign recognition this week, the APPCOG was delighted to see #CarbonMonoxideSafe4Summer supported by Visit England Biz, the National Care Association and various camping and tourist organisations. This is down to the hard work of all those sharing messages and taking part in supporting activities – let’s keep up the good work!

 

Please keep using the hashtag #CarbonMonoxideSafe4Summer and tagging @APPCOG_UK so we can maximise our impact.

 

You can download the full Asset Kit here: https://www.unitedagainstco.com/cosafe4summer

 

*NB – on Twitter re-tweets help the campaign more than ‘likes’, this expands the reach of the post so we can engage with more people and organisations. If you are happy to re-tweet please do so!

 

Focus this week:

 

  1. CO risks: BBQs – safe use, both LPG and solid fuel
  2. Boat Safety

 

Dates to note:

 

25th National BBQ Week from 5 – 18 July (*please note revised date)

 

July is ‘Boating Safety Month’ with the National Carbon Monoxide Awareness Association @NCOAA

 

Key Assets:

 

Correction: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FK9zlcLyWwA

 

Media since last week:

 

Barry Sheerman MP’s page, proudly launching the campaign: https://barrysheerman.co.uk/2021/06/25/carbon-monoxide-safe4summer-campaign/

 

Disney Star Olivia Rodrigo Recounts Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Experience:

https://insidethemagic.net/2021/06/olivia-rodrigo-carbon-monoxide-ad1/

 

Recent incidents

USA – Freeport: Four people hospitalised, a carbon monoxide detector found levels as high as 675 parts per million in one area of the hotel: “If you have a (carbon monoxide) emergency, that needs to be a 911 call”

https://www.pressherald.com/2021/06/29/emergency-crews-respond-to-carbon-monoxide-leak-at-freeport-motel/

 

USA – Cleveland: Two men and a boy died from carbon monoxide poisoning aboard a boat on Lake Erie Wednesday evening. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says that gas-powered boats and larger vessels with generators pose a potential carbon monoxide threat to passengers if not carefully vented.

https://norwalkreflector.com/news/328344/two-men-boy-died-from-carbon-monoxide-poisoning-in-boating-incident-on-lake-erie-cuyahoga-county-medical-examiner-rules/

 

Stakeholder/other comms

 

The Federation of British Chimney Sweeps (FBCS) in association with APICS joins #CarbonMonoxideSafe4Summer campaign launch: https://www.apics.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/136/2021/06/CarbonMonoxideSafe4Summer.pdf

 

James the Sweep: https://jamesthesweep.co.uk/carbon-monoxide-safe-4-summer-campaign-is-supported-by-james-the-sweep-in-kent/#more-4518

 

Camping & Caravanning Club: https://www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk/helpandadvice/camping-safety/carbon-monoxide-poisoning/

 

Thank you all!

 

Canterbury Medical Practice Advice: https://www.canterburymedicalpractice.nhs.uk/syndication/live-well/healthy-body/stay-gas-safe-this-summer

 

Summer CO Advice in Canada: https://www.technicalsafetybc.ca/carbon-monoxide/summer

 

Hashtags:

 

#CarbonMonoxideSafe4Summer

#CarbonMonoxide

#BBQ

#NationalBBQWeek (also #NBQW #NBBQW) @NationalBBQWeek

#GreatBritishSummer

#SolidFuel

#LPG

#BoatingSafety @NCOAA

#BoatsThatTweet

#Boat

#Summer

Last Week’s Top Tweet:

Safety Tips Poster: https://twitter.com/APPCOG_UK/status/1410539258092343297

 

 

IGEM CO Conference 09.06.21

SESSION 2 – 11:30 – 13:00 Stream 2 – Carbon Monoxide

Chair – Chris Bielby, Chair of Gas Safety Trust

GISGCO Alarms Enquiry Speaker Laura Fatah

The effect of CO exposure on pregnant women and the unborn child Speaker Hilary Wareing, Director, Improving Performance in Practice (iPiP)

The effect of CO exposure on older people Speaker Beth Cheshire, PhD Student, Faculty of Health and Medicine’s Centre4Ageing, Lancaster University

Title TBC Speaker Dr Julie Connolly, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Health, Liverpool John Moore’s University

Why testing for CO matters Speaker Stephanie Trotter OBE, President & Director of CO-Gas Safety

Stephanie will be adding the PPP she gave but meanwhile if you’d rather read it do email her and ask her to send it to you

Email is:- office@co-gassafety.co.uk

For the whole session see Session 2B – Carbon Monoxide https://vimeo.com/561336772/260a0d074d

Open air carbon monoxide poisoning on boats – not UK but please be warned

 

Northeast Ohio couple spreading awareness of boating dangers after losing son to carbon monoxide poisoning

Seven year old Afton Taylor died in 2019 after carbon monoxide poisoning on a routine boat trip: his parents want to warn others

https://www.news5cleveland.com/news/local-news/oh-stark/northeast-ohio-couple-spreading-awareness-of-boating-dangers-after-losing-son-to-carbon-monoxide-poisoning

Similar to:-

Boy, 9, poisoned by carbon monoxide before slipping into lake after sitting at back of family’s boat ‘for most of day’

By Brinkwire on September 23, 2020

https://en.brinkwire.com/news/boy-9-poisoned-by-carbon-monoxide-before-slipping-into-lake-after-sitting-at-back-of-familys-boat-for-most-of-day/

There have been more than 140 similar fatalities since 2000, says a 2014 report.

 

Warning about danger from CO in BBQ huts

We have heard from a couple who were poisoned by CO in a BBQ hut they bought from a local plant nursery. The couple felt ill and later used a CO alarm with a digital read out which registered CO. We recommend that any BBQ should be used outdoors only.