Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
, 53 (39), 920-2

Carbon Monoxide Releases and Poisonings Attributed to Underground Utility Cable fires--New York, January 2000-June 2004

  • PMID: 15470325

Carbon Monoxide Releases and Poisonings Attributed to Underground Utility Cable fires--New York, January 2000-June 2004

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep.

Abstract

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a potentially deadly gas that is odorless, colorless, tasteless, and nonirritating. Each year, CO poisoning causes approximately 500 unintentional deaths in the United States. CO is generated during the incomplete combustion of carbon-based fuels such as oil, natural gas, kerosene, coal, charcoal, gasoline, and wood. Common sources of CO poisonings include furnaces, generators, and nonelectric space heaters. Another potential cause of CO poisonings is the unintentional burning of underground utility cables. The oxygen-poor environment below ground promotes incomplete combustion and the production of CO. The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) documented 234 events during January 2000-June 2004 in which CO releases resulted from underground utility cable fires (also known as CO burnout events). This report describes these events, summarizes data on reported CO burnouts, and discusses associated injuries. The findings underscore the need for preventive actions, such as installation of CO detectors in central locations in homes and businesses. In homes, CO detectors should be installed outside of each separate sleeping area.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 1 article

Substances

Feedback