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 and trucks, small gasoline engines, stoves, lanterns, burning charcoal and wood, gas ranges, and heating systems. Wherever there is a flame or combustion, deadly carbon monoxide gas can be produced. CO from these sources can build up in enclosed or semi-enclosed spaces making the air poisonous for people and animals.
CO poisoning is especially of concern after emergency situations such as power outages or natural disasters because of emergency equipment used that give off CO. Generators, grills, camp stoves, gasoline equipment, propane, natural gas, or charcoal-burning devices should never be used inside a home, basement, garage, camper, or even outside near an open window.
CO poisoning can also occur outdoors and has been reported while boating. In this case, CO poisoning is attributed mostly to generator exhaust that builds up inside and outside a boat in areas near exhaust vents. Dangerous concentrations of CO can accumulate within seconds; due to the possibility of rapid CO accumulation while boating, it is recommended that all boat owners schedule regular engine and exhaust system maintenance for their boats and install and test daily a battery operated CO detector.
CO poisoning is almost entirely preventable. To protect yourself from CO poisoning, use equipment that emits CO responsibly and install a properly working CO detector in your home. These can be purchased at most grocery and home improvement stores for a relatively low cost. Additionally, it is crucial to check and maintain your CO detector including, but not limited to, changing batteries and checking its power source.
What Is Being Done?Organizations, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), offer free resources that provide information about CO poisoning and prevention. Also, health promotion and community outreach activities are available to educate the public about CO poisoning and prevention. However, it is primarily up to the individual to practice behaviors that prevent CO poisoning such as installing working CO detectors and using equipment that emits CO gas properly.