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A Silent Killer – Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Date:2013-3-4    Publisher:本站原创

A Silent Killer – Carbon Monoxide Poisoning


 

By VOA
17 February, 2013

This is SCIENCE IN THE NEWS, in VOA Special English. I'm Christopher Cruise.

And I'm Bob Doughty. Winter has brought cold weather to many parts of Earth's northern hemisphere. With the cold comes a danger as old as man's knowledge of fire -- death or injury by carbon monoxide poisoning. Today, we tell about this ancient and continuing danger.

A Wisconsin woman died earlier this month from carbon monoxide poisoning. Officials say her body was found in a fishing shanty on Lake Winnebago. Officials urged people to use care when heating the small shelters. Visitors were told to make sure their heating equipment is in good condition, and that the shelters do not trap harmful gases.

A week earlier, carbon monoxide poisoning was blamed for the death of two women in Chicago, Illinois. The medical examiner's office blamed the accident on heating equipment. Fire officials say the heater was old and had not been inspected recently. They also say the building where the women lived did not have enough carbon monoxide detectors to recognize the deadly gas.

These are just two of the cases of carbon monoxide poisoning that have been reported this winter. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that carbon monoxide kills about 500 Americans every year. The CDC has found that the average number of carbon monoxide deaths in the United States is greatest in January. It notes that carbon monoxide poisoning can happen outdoors in fresh air. But the gas also has been linked with electrical generating equipment and engines on houseboats.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is responsible for protecting Americans from unreasonable risks of death or injury from thousands of products. Last year, the commission reported information about deaths linked to carbon monoxide poisoning. It estimated the number of deaths that could be linked with products under the agency's supervision. There were an estimated 189 such deaths in 2008 – the most recent year for which information is available. The report says 49 percent of the deaths involved engine-driven tools. Heating systems were blamed for 37 percent of the deaths.

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