Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Matheson Battling Carbon Monoxide

From an email:

Carbon monoxide is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in America. Exposure to the colorless, odorless gas can result from several sources, including malfunctioning furnaces, water heaters, stoves and portable generators used indoors. This story from a Utah newspaper about an alarming incident highlights the danger.

Carbon monoxide (CO) poisonings occur everywhere across the U.S. from cold weather states in which furnaces frequently run, to hurricane-prone areas in which residents lose electricity and use portable generators inside.

The safest known way to detect carbon monoxide is to install a working CO alarm. Fire safety experts such as the National Fire Protection Association recommend placing CO alarms on each floor of your home and near sleeping areas.

To help protect families from this silent killer, 19 states (including Utah) have passed laws requiring CO alarms in certain residences. Currently residential CO alarms may comply with a voluntary standard, known as the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) 2034 and most states with CO alarm laws require that the devices meet this standard.

I believe we can do a better job preventing CO poisoning. That is why I have introduced legislation that would expand the level of protection. My bill creates a mandatory production standard for these life-saving devices. It would also set up a grant program to assist states that pass residential CO alarm requirements. The Consumer Product Safety Commission would oversee the grant program, with priority given to states that have greater than average fatalities from carbon monoxide. My legislation is supported by child safety advocates, business and retail groups.

We know that nearly all carbon monoxide poisonings can be prevented by simply placing CO detectors in the home. Saving lives is what this bill is designed to do.

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