Carbon Monoxide Gets National Exposure
Carbon monoxide poisoning is in the news again. This time it involves your car and your home.
The New York Times recently published an article that described the death of a man who, after parking in his attached garage, simply forgot to turn off the car with his wireless key fob. He died of carbon monoxide poisoning that crept into his home as the car’s engine continued to run.*
Dr. Neil B. Hampson echoes the concern raised by the May 13, 2018 article. “Carbon monoxide can pass through drywall, so you don’t need an open door or duct from the garage for it to enter your home,” he noted. Hampson is a national expert in carbon monoxide poisoning and past president of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, a non-profit medical research organization with affiliates worldwide.
“This recent article emphasizes the problem of keyless fobs causing the driver to forget to turn off the car,” said Hampson. “Unfortunately, some people just forget to turn off the engine, even with a key.” That slip of the mind can be deadly, particularly when your garage is attached to your home, as was the case in the NYT report. “The keyless issue could be solved with a software revision that turns off the engine automatically after the vehicle idles a set length of time,” Hampson said. “This underscore s the need for home carbon monoxide alarms in addition to smoke alarms, even if your home is all electric.”
In 2010 Dr. Hampson published a paper in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, first drawing medical attention to the problem. In his nationwide study, 175 individuals were poisoned in 59 incidents, with 63 fatalities. The elderly were disproportionately affected: 29% of the individuals poisoned in this fashion were older than 80. Of 17 poisoned individuals over 80, 15 died. For members of the press and medical community who want more information, Dr. Hampson can be reached for comment through John Peters, Executive Director of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, at +561-776-6110 ext. 100. The Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society is an important source of scientific and medical information pertaining to hyperbaric medicine. UHMS comprises some 2,500 physicians, scientists, associates and nurses from more than 50 countries in the fields of hyperbaric and dive medicine.