Issue: Carbon monoxide poisoning
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a leading cause of unintentional poisoning deaths in Ontario, Canada and North America.
Statistics Canada reports that 1,125 people died from CO poisoning between 2000 to 2013 in Canada.
Problem: Detection of carbon monoxide
The nature of carbon monoxide poisoning requires proactive safety measures – waiting until after the poisoning has occurred is too late. Without a carbon monoxide alarm, families are unable to detect the presence of this poisonous gas as it is colourless, odourless and tasteless. Symptoms of exposure are also often mistaken for the flu, and either ignored or misdiagnosed.
Solution: Legislating mandatory carbon monoxide alarms
Five jurisdictions in Canada now have legislation that requires residences to have carbon monoxide detectors: Alberta, Ontario, Manitoba, Quebec and Yukon.
Investment in poison prevention strategies is cost-effective:
- $1 spent on poison prevention saves $7 in health-care costs.
- Most carbon monoxide alarms cost less than $35. This is about two cents a day over the suggested lifespan of a CO alarm.