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Public Health. 2019 Aug;173:17-20. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2019.05.003. Epub 2019 Jun 14.

An unusual incident: carbon monoxide poisoning risk in 540 homes due to faulty wood burner installations.

Author information

1
Specialty Registrar in Public Health, Public Health Wales, United Kingdom.
2
Consultant in Environmental Health Protection, Public Health Wales, United Kingdom.
3
Consultant in Environmental Health Protection, Public Health Wales, United Kingdom. Electronic address: Sarah.jones27@wales.nhs.
4
Consultant in Health Protection, Public Health Wales, United Kingdom.
5
Public Health England Centre for Radiation, Chemicals and the Environment - Wales, United Kingdom.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

This report describes the public health management of an unusual incident involving an increased risk of carbon monoxide (CO) exposure due to the installation of at least 541 wood burners in a local authority area in Wales.

PUBLIC HEALTH ACTIONS:

An incident management team (IMT) was convened. The IMT assessed and managed the public health risk associated with the wood burners and promoted CO awareness in the local population.

OUTCOMES:

At least 541 homes were found to have had a wood burner potentially incorrectly installed by a Heating Equipment Testing and Approval Scheme-registered engineer. Local residents were made aware of the dangers and provided with free CO alarms.

CONCLUSIONS:

This incident highlights that even registered engineers may fail to follow guidelines. It is important to inform the public of the need to have a working CO alarm at home, as well as educating the public and professionals about the symptoms and signs of CO poisoning.

KEYWORDS:

Air quality; Carbon monoxide; Public health

PMID:
31207424
DOI:
10.1016/j.puhe.2019.05.003
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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