Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
|Did You Know?|
|On March 31, 2006, "Nicole’s Law" went into effect requiring CO detectors in all Massachusetts homes with potential sources of CO – those with fossil-fuel burning equipment or enclosed parking areas. "Nicole’s Law" was named for 7-year old Nicole Garofalo who died on January 28, 2005 when the furnace vents of her Plymouth home were blocked by snow drifts causing deadly amounts of CO to build up in the house. The regulations (527 CMR 31.00) establish requirements for the type, location, maintenance, and inspection of CO alarms.|
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a common, potentially lethal gas produced by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels such as gasoline or wood. CO poisoning results from breathing air that contains CO gas. CO poisoning results in a range of symptoms from mild to severe, including death.
You may be exposed to unsafe levels of CO from:
- House or building fires
- Poorly maintained or unvented heating equipment
- Running motor vehicles indoors (e.g., in garages or other enclosed spaces)
- Using a gas stove, oven, or grill to heat the home
- Cooking with a charcoal or gas grill inside the home or other enclosure
- Clogged chimneys or blocked heating exhaust vents
- Operating generators or gas-powered tools indoors or outside near windows, doors
or intake vents
- Using a propane camp stove, heater, or light inside a tent
- Engaging in activities near motor vehicle engine exhaust outlets, including boats
The release of CO is almost entirely preventable by the correct installation, maintenance, and operation of devices that may emit carbon monoxide. Combined with the appropriate use of carbon monoxide detectors (also called carbon monoxide alarms), CO poisoning is highly preventable.
The EPHT program has identified the need for surveillance of unintentional CO poisoning to support public health prevention and intervention activities. Tracking the occurrence of CO poisoning can also provide information on CO exposures following disasters and storms when emergency generator use increases.
Data on hospitalization visits are collected by the Massachusetts Center for Health Information and Analysis (CHIA) from all acute care hospitals and satellite emergency facilities in the state. CHIA collects information on all inpatient hospital admissions and emergency department (ED) visits. Mortality data is obtained from the Massachusetts Registry of Vital Records and Statistics.
When reviewing and interpreting CO poisoning data, it is important to take into consideration the following:
|Available Data on Carbon Monoxide Poisoning|
Click the Maps and Tables button on this page to access the following measures for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in your community on the right toolbar. The most current available data will be shown. Be sure to check the site periodically as new data are added each year. To protect privacy, no information is shown that could identify an individual.
Hospitalization and Mortality