Summer Weather Can Lead to Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Blog by MKG 6-7-2013
Lauren Thornton (10 years old) and her mother, Kelly Webster (36 years old), were both killed by carbon monoxide on a motor cruiser moored on Lake Windermere
Many fatal carbon monoxide motor vehicle incidents occur in northern states and during the colder months but many occur in the spring, summer and fall. (1-4). The carbon monoxide in engine exhaust is the cause of most poisoning fatalities and many injuries in the United States (2-10) if you assume those whom die in fires are poisoned by smoke particles and CO as is often reported. Of the 11,547 un-intentional, non-fire related CO fatalities during 1979 to 1988, 57% were caused by engine exhaust. Some of the CO deaths have occurred in closed structures with the garage door open and others in the open while parked (2).
The lesson to be learned from all these tragedies is to buy carbon monoxide alarms for your recreational camping (RVs, boats, tents, and vans) as well as your car and garage. An RV rated carbon monoxide alarm should be used for all applications except marine. A marine CO alarm should be used for boating applications.
2. Cobb N, Etzel RA. Unintentional Carbon Monoxide-Related Deaths in the United States, 1979 1988. JAMA 1991; 266:659 63.
3. Hampson NB, Norkool DM. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Children Riding in the Back of Pickup Trucks. JAMA 1992; 267:538 40.
4. The Guardian, Thursday 23 May 2013 UK
5. CDC. Carbon Monoxide Poisonings Associated with Snow-obstructed Vehicle Exhaust Systems -- Philadelphia and New York City, January 1996. MMWR 1996; 45:1 3.
6. RE Zumwalt, MD, Office of the Medical Investigator, New Mexico. M Cook Wake, MS, Injury Epidemiology; R Hoffman, MD, State Epidemiologist, Colorado Dept. of Public Health and Environment. RF Malesich, Lake County Coroner's Office, Leadville, Colorado. Surveillance and Programs Br, Air Pollution and Respiratory Health Br, Div. of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects, National Center for Environmental Health, CDC.
7. Baron RC, Backer RC, Sopher IM. Unintentional Deaths from Carbon Monoxide in Motor Vehicle Exhaust: West Virginia. Am J Public Health 1989; 79:328 30.
8. Girman JR, Chang Y, Hayward SB, Liu K. Final Report: Causes of Unintentional Deaths from Carbon Monoxide Poisonings in California. Berkley, California: California Department of Health Services, California Indoor Air Quality Program, 1993.
9. Ilano AL, Raffin TA. Management of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning. Chest 1990; 97:165 9.
10. M. West and J. Slivka, Carbon Monoxide is Killer on Lake Powell, The Arizona Republic Nov. 29, 2000