Capital News Service

of the Michigan State University School of Journalism

Carbon monoxide still claims lives in Michigan

By JULIET WANG

Capital News Service

LANSING—Carbon monoxide was the second most-frequent hazardous substance that injured Michigan residents in 2008, the Department of Community Health (DCH) said.

In 2008, 35 people died from carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the DCH.  In 2006 it was 48 and in 2005 it was 38, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

CO poisoning causes 400 deaths a year in the U.S., according to the CDC.

Symptoms include fatigue, headache, nausea, shortness of breath and dizziness.

Walt Maner, a consultant to the Michigan Plumbing and Mechanical Contractors Association, said, “The recent drops in CO poisoning deaths could be that products are getting better” at detecting CO.

“I don’t know if people are maintaining their furnaces better than they used to but I think technology has something to do with it,” he said.

Anything that burns fuels can cause CO poisoning, said Jon Paradine, a senior mechanical inspector in the mechanical division of the Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth.

Maner said,“If natural gas doesn’t burn efficiently, anything that burns carbon monoxide can leak.”

Paradine said, “There is no code to get a furnace checked every year. Manufacturers suggest furnaces be inspected but there is no requirement whatsoever to maintain them.”

Jennifer Kosak, senior environmental health specialist with the Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department, has been trying to put together a stronger program to educate and protect the public.

She said her department is seeking grants to address CO problems in local homes.  That would include providing detectors and equipment.

“CO affects people differently, and some of it may be due to better testing of blood levels,” said Kosak. “Now we can detect CO to such low limits, but what’s harmful and what’s not?”

Michael Krecek, director and health officer of the Midland County Public Health Department, said, his office works with local building inspectors to educate people to be more aware of CO, making sure places like day care centers and restaurants are properly ventilated.

© 2010, Capital News Service, Michigan State University School of Journalism. Not to be reproduced without permission.

 

Advertisements

Filed under: Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

About CNS

CNS reporters cover state government — issues and personalities.



Covering stories of meaning to their member papers, they come in contact with the important newsmakers of the day, from the Supreme Court justices and the governor to members of the Legislature and the people who run the state government departments, to lobbyists and public-interest organizations.



Then they also talk with “real people” — the individual citizens and businesses in communities to get their reactions to what’s happening in Lansing.



In addition to weekly news stories, CNS students write in-depth articles on issues facing state government and their impact on taxpayers.
%d bloggers like this: