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Carbon Monoxide May Travel Through Drywall

Posted on August 30, 2013
by Wendy Stackhouse
Garage door
Image by Mattox via stock.xchng

We’ve all heard about not sitting in the garage with the door closed and the engine running. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can kill. In fact, carbon monoxide kills about 500 people accidentally every year in the US and causes cognitive impairment in 18-35% of those who suffer carbon monoxide poisoning and survive.

Carbon monoxide alarms have been required by law in homes in 25 states, but 10 of those states exempt homes without attached garages or fuel-burning appliances, in the belief that only homes with those features are really in danger from carbon monoxide, but that may not be the case.

In a study reported in the latest Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), researchers found that carbon monoxide may be able to move from one unit of multi-family housing to another without using ventilation systems, stairwells or halls–it must be moving through the walls.

At AirTek, we support monitoring of indoor air quality and hope we are helping our readers become more aware of what may be in the air they are breathing, even at home. Carbon monoxide can and does kill without giving any warning of its own. Does your home share a wall with someone else’s garage? Do the people in the unit below you have a fuel-burning appliance? Or a fireplace? Do you live in a state that requires carbon monoxide detectors? And if so, do you have one?

We hope that you would never take any chances with carbon monoxide yourself, but since you may not be able to control those close by, we hope that you are being thoughtful about the risks that exist of carbon monoxide poisoning and its potentially tragic consequences.

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