Carbon Monoxide: Measures and Data
Why is it a concern?In the 16-year period 1990–2005, 1,197 Washington residents died from acute exposure to CO, an average of about 75 deaths per year. The death rate has declined by about 50% over the past two decades, probably due to reductions in automotive engine emissions. During the years 1990–2005, there were about 53 hospitalizations per year in Washington State for symptoms related to CO poisoning. In the CO poisoning outbreak following the December 2006 windstorm, there were eight deaths and over 300 hospital emergency department visits over the ten-day outbreak period. In 2006, over 68% of homes in Washington lacked a CO alarm; CO alarms were less likely to be found in households of older individuals, lower income, and rural residents.
How is it tracked?WTN uses three indicators to track how many people are affected by CO exposure and CO poisoning:
In addition, DOH tracks a measure of prevention efforts:
- Risk of CO exposure from incorrect use of gasoline-powered generators
Data for these last two indicators are found on the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) website BRFSS-IQ.
- Households with a CO alarms
What is being done?A number of programs in DOH collaborate to prevent CO poisoning: the Indoor Air Quality Program, the Public Health Emergency Preparedness & Response program, and the Injury and Violence Prevention Program. DOH also collaborates with Labor & Industries in the prevention of workplace CO poisoning. These programs distribute fact sheets (in multiple languages).