According to new research by the Carbon Monoxide – Be Alarmed! campaign, carried our in August this year, more than half of the British population are at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning because they do not have an alarm in their home to detect this potentially fatal gas.
The study found 35 million Britons to be at risk, 31 million in England, 2.4 million in Scotland and 1.6 million in Wales.
Because of the serious threat of this gas, it is now compulsory in Scotland to install a carbon monoxide alarm when a fuel-burning appliance is fitted. New homes in Northern Ireland also have to be fitted with carbon monoxide alarms before they can be occupied. Carbon monoxide detectors/alarms are also required in the UK.
Carbon monoxide is a silent killer because it has no odour, colour or taste. It is usually produced by a faulty or poorly ventilated fuel-burning appliance such as a boiler, fire or cooker.
The only way to ensure your family is protected from carbon monoxide poisoning is to fit an alarm that can detect this gas.
At high levels, carbon monoxide can kill in a matter of minutes. At lower levels, it can cause a range of serious and long term health problems.
The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are very hard to recognise, as they are similar to many common illnesses like flu and food poisoning.
The research also highlighted there is some confusion about these alarms, 44% of the people without a carbon monoxide alarm said they did not have one because they have a smoke alarm. People didn’t seem to understand the alarms do two different things and both are needed in a home.
This research was carried out by ICM research in August 2013 and involved 10,604 Britons across England (9,251), Scotland (849) and Wales (504).