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Journal of Environmental and Public Health
Volume 2013, Article ID 735952, 5 pages
Research Article

Indoor Carbon Monoxide: A Case Study in England for Detection and Interventions to Reduce Population Exposure

1Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards, Health Protection Agency, Chilton, Didcot, Oxon OX11 0RQ, UK
2Field Epidemiology Training Programme, Health Protection Agency, UK
3European Programme for Intervention Epidemiology Training (EPIET), European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Stockholm, Sweden
4Hackney Homes, London E8 1BJ, UK
5London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London WC1E 7HT, UK

Received 21 December 2012; Revised 17 February 2013; Accepted 10 March 2013

Academic Editor: Mohammad Mehdi Amin

Copyright © 2013 L. J. McCann et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Potential exposure to carbon monoxide (CO) in private homes is largely unquantified. Aim. To estimate prevalence of potential exposure to CO in residential dwellings and describe associated interventions in an inner-city community. Methods. A housing association in London, Hackney Homes, began fitting CO alarms in the 22,831 local authority homes it is responsible for in January 2010. A gas engineer investigated each alarm activation and recorded the information on a standard form. We undertook a cross-sectional study of all 22,831 homes, using data from these forms. Descriptive analysis was performed, including incidence, monthly variation, cause of alarm activation, and actions taken. Results. Between November 2011 and April 2012, 106 incidents were reported. Of these, 34.6% identified an issue with a gas appliance, and 10.6% identified misuse of cooking methods as the cause of activation. Relevant interventions were put in place, including disconnection of the gas appliance and education around cooking methods. Discussion. Little is known about the burden of CO poisoning in residential dwellings. This study provides important information on the path to quantifying population exposure to CO as well as establishing a possible approach to access this key information and realistic interventions to reduce potential exposure.