Carbon monoxide detectors for single-family California homes required by law

The Law Was Created to be
an Information Campaign

Tasteless, colorless, and odorless, completely undetectable to human senses, and carbon monoxide is every one those things. Although it has come to the attention of lawmakers in California, people don't need to be defenseless against a gas that's Carbon monoxide detectoroften called a silent killer. A Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act passed in 2010 has begun taking effect and requires that an alarm be installed in every California residence containing an appliance that burns fossil-fuel, fireplace or an attached garage. Part of the law, that became effective on July 1, is aimed directly at single-family housing. The law will later expand into multi-units, such as apartments, beginning on Jan. 1, 2013.

The Law was Created to be an Information Campaign," said Meegen Murray, a legislative assistant to Democratic Sen. Alan Lowenthal, from Long Beach the sponsor of the bill. She said Lowenthal introduced a somewhat similar bill back in 2007, which was vetoed by the governor for procedural reasons and not for content. The California Building Standards Commission has subsequently been modified to require that every new housing unit includes a hard-wired carbon monoxide detector.

The problem with enforcement of the new law, is that nobody is going to be knocking on your front door making sure you are aware of the peril of carbon monoxide gas. The only opportunity for an inspection is as homes are sold or permits are required for work being done on a home. A violation may bring a fine as much as $200, if a homeowner without a detector thumbs his nose at a 30-day notice.

Firefighters are carrying out their part to increase the awareness of the new law. They've been attempting to get out the word to the general public that the new law has gone into effect, although not many people in the region have died from poisoning. by carbon monoxide.

Although this past February, two senior citizens succumbed to poisoning from carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide poisoning, has a larger consequence on children and the elderly, has flu-type symptoms and many times is undiagnosed even when the consequence is death. "It's not that simple to ascertain the actual cost in lost lives, visits to emergency rooms and lifelong illnesses, A Carbon Monoxide Safety Association figures set the nationwide medical costs at $8.8 billion every year. In California, 30 to 40 preventable deaths are recognized annually although less than in cooler states where such heaters are more prevalent.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention figures that on a nationwide basis, carbon monoxide poisoning is responsible for over 400 deaths per year and puts 15,000 people in hospitals for treatment. At a May webinar structured by the Home Safety Council, it was discovered that approximate 89 percent of households in California have less carbon monoxide detectors than are suggested by the National Fire Protection Association. One more statistic provided at the webinar, is that 34 states have already enacted a similar law to California's.

The new California law is "intended as a least possible protection" against these harmful fumes. The law in California states that you must install a carbon monoxide alarm on every level of your home, including basements, and specifically outside of sleeping areas. Carbon monoxide detectors can be purchased at home improvement centers or at ebayat a cost between $25 to $45. The more expensive versions also double as smoke detectors.

A GLIMPSE AT CARBON MONOXIDE

Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless, tasteless and tremendously toxic. Minute amounts can kill, by keeping your body from obtaining enough oxygen, even though the lungs are functioning and drawing in normal quantities of oxygen from every breath you take. Carbon monoxide obstructs the oxygen-transporting capacity of blood, impeding with hemoglobin, a chief component of red blood cells including the protein which makes blood red. Hemoglobin transports oxygen away from your lungs throughout your bloodstream and into your tissues, and acquires carbon dioxide on the way back.

The properties that permit hemoglobin to transport oxygen and carbon dioxide and allow them to go allow it to be vulnerable to carbon monoxide. When carbon monoxide comes aboard, it doesn't go away. Its presence also allows oxygen to stick to hemoglobin much longer, keeping oxygen away from tissues of the body that require it, and compounding the problem. Hemoglobin's attraction to carbon monoxide is over 230 times its attraction for oxygen, so as carbon monoxide comes around, it outcontends oxygen for positions on the hemoglobin trip. Breathing in just 100 parts of carbon monoxide to one million parts of room air will cause to feel you sick by giving you headaches, dizziness, nausea, and confusion which are all early symptoms of poisoning by carbon monoxide . As consequences are not unique, poisoning can easily turn deadly before you become conscious of what's happening.  New Article Jul 19, 2011

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Mayo Clinic; National Libraries of Medicine