Prevention of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is incredibly dangerous. Many common items produce this odorless and colorless gas. The carbon monoxide poisoning lawyers at Discepolo LLP have 15 years of experience advocating for victims of CO poisoning. We have won nearly $75 million in compensation for our clients in these cases. Our team understands the dangers that CO poses and urges people to take steps to prevent accidental exposure to carbon monoxide.

This gas poses such a threat because victims of acute CO poisoning sometimes succumb without ever being aware of the danger. The first noticeable symptoms of exposure to extremely high levels of CO are usually impaired judgment and unconsciousness. Without the intervention of an outside party, even those suffering from these early symptoms may be lost. Thankfully, accidental CO exposure levels this high are rare and people can prevent it.

Where Carbon Monoxide Comes From

Burning fuels produce carbon monoxide. Gasoline, wood, coal, oils, etc. all produce CO when burned. Therefore, anything that uses these fuels is a source of CO. Gasoline-powered vehicles are among the most powerful producers of the gas; when they are outside, there is no risk of buildup. However, running any gasoline-powered vehicle in an enclosed space without adequate ventilation can very quickly result in exposure to lethal levels of CO.

There are sources of carbon monoxide in many homes, but normally they are not a danger. Gas stoves, water heaters, space heaters, fireplace, and dryers are all possible sources. While these produce CO, installers are usually very vigilant about installation to ensure a home’s safety. Only when someone improperly installs or inadequately maintains such devices do they pose a danger of carbon monoxide poisoning. The most common sources of dangerous levels of CO besides gasoline-powered vehicles are faulty chimneys, furnaces, heaters, and gas-powered appliances.

Ways to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Buildup 

The best way to prevent cases of carbon monoxide poisoning is through education. People need to be aware of the dangers posed by the gas, know the sources of it, and understand the proper uses of gas-powered appliances and other sources of CO.

Carbon monoxide detectors are readily available and can give enough advance warning of abnormal levels of the gas to prevent dangerous exposure. They are reasonably priced, and homeowners can easily install them anywhere CO buildup is a risk. Some state laws require landlords install these detectors in their rentals.

The smaller the room or building, the quicker carbon monoxide can reach poisonous levels. Energy-efficient apartments are at special risk for CO buildup, as are any other “tiny homes.” Owners of these kinds of houses should consider the installation of CO detectors essential.

A carbon monoxide detector is no replacement for regular maintenance of chimneys, furnaces, heaters, gas appliances, and other sources of the gas. If any CO-producing device has faults, it can be dangerous to people’s health. Clogged vents in heaters and malfunctioning appliances are some of the most common causes of high carbon monoxide levels.

While exposure to levels of carbon monoxide high enough to cause acute poisoning have immediately dangerous effects, lower levels of exposure over a long term can also be detrimental. Properly install and maintain all sources of CO in a home to prevent both low and high levels of exposure for you and your family.

If efforts to prevent carbon monoxide fail and you or your family are exposed to poisonous levels, please consider contacting the lawyers at Discepolo LLP. We are unique among the law practices in Maryland for our expertise in resolving cases of CO poisoning. We also have offices in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Washington, and we are available for co-counsel nationwide.