DefinitionNumber/rate of intentional and/or unintentional deaths attributed to carbon monoxide (CO) as a primary cause of death. ICD-10 codes used to define carbon monoxide poisoning: T58, with additional codes for intentional (X67), unintentional (X47), or undetermined intent (Y17).
NumeratorUtah resident deaths due to CO poisoning.
DenominatorState population based on 2000 and 2010 census counts, with intercensal years estimated.
Data Interpretation IssuesThis indicator includes only data from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning that resulted in death. This does not include those who were hospitalized or went to the emergency department, those who were treated at the scene, or those who did not seek medical care.
Why Is This Important?Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless, and poisonous gas that can cause sudden illness and death if inhaled. CO poisoning can happen quickly and without warning. This cause of death is almost entirely preventable if proper measures are taken, such as always having a working carbon monoxide detector in your home or work.
CO is found in combustion fumes, such as those produced by cars, trucks, small gasoline engines, stoves, lanterns, burning charcoal and wood, gas ranges, and heating systems. Whenever there is a flame or combustion, some deadly CO gas can be produced. CO from these sources can build up in enclosed or semi-enclosed spaces, making it a very poisonous area to breathe for people and animals.
CO poisoning is especially a concern after emergency situations such as power outages or natural disasters because of certain equipment people use that give off CO. Generators, grills, charcoal-burning devices, camp stoves, or other gasoline equipment such as propane or natural gas devices should never be used inside a home, basement, garage, camper, or even outside near an open window.
CO poisoning can also occur outdoors in fresh air and has been reported while boating. In this case, CO poisoning is attributed mostly to generator exhaust that builds up in areas near exhaust vents on boats. Dangerous concentrations of CO can accumulate within seconds; therefore, schedule regular engine and exhaust system maintenance with your boat and install a battery operated CO detector that you test with every use.
CO poisoning is almost entirely preventable. To protect yourself from CO poisoning, use the equipment that emits CO responsibly and use a properly working carbon monoxide detector in your home. These can be purchased at most grocery and home improvement stores for relatively low cost. Additionally, it is crucial to check and maintain your CO detector, including but not limited to batteries and power source.
What Is Being Done?There are organizations that provide free information about carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning and prevention such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Also, health promotion and outreach activities often take place to educate the public about CO poisoning and prevention. However, it is primarily up to the individual to practice behaviors to prevent CO poisoning such as installing working CO detectors and using equipment properly that emits CO gas.