U.S. Senators Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) today introduced legislation to help prevent carbon monoxide-related deaths. The bill would empower the Consumer Product Safety Commission to enforce tougher standards to help ensure carbon monoxide detectors are safe and reliable.
"The danger posed by carbon monoxide poisoning is significant, especially in states like Maine with harsh winters where individuals have attempted to utilize dangerous methods to stay warm. Carbon monoxide detectors are essential in Maine households and it is absolutely vital that strong safety standards are in place for these alarms so that Mainers and Americans can detect when deadly fumes are present. This bipartisan legislation will help achieve that goal," said Senator Snowe.
"We know that all too often the tragedy of someone dying from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning could have been prevented with better safeguards," Klobuchar said. "This bill will help ensure that families in Minnesota and across the country can sleep soundly knowing that they are protected from this deadly poison."
According to the Center for Disease Control, approximately 500 people die each year from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning and another 15,000 are forced to seek medical attention for accidental CO exposure.
The senators' legislation would strengthen the safety standards for carbon monoxide alarms. Currently, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has voluntary standards, set by Underwriters Laboratories. The legislation would make these safety standards mandatory for all carbon monoxide alarms sold in the U.S. The bill also authorizes the CPSC to provide resources to states to educate the public and promote the use of carbon monoxide detectors.
Senators Snowe and Klobuchar serve on the Senate Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Consumer Product Safety Commission.