Carbon Monoxide: Health Hazards

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 24th January 2020.

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Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour/Co-operative, Huddersfield

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of carbon monoxide on public health; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour/Co-operative, Huddersfield

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve the diagnosis of carbon monoxide poisoning; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Jo Churchill Jo Churchill The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is a serious and preventable form of poisoning. Each year there are about 25 deaths from accidental CO poisoning in England and Wales and in excess of 200 non-fatal cases that require hospitalisation. Data on mortality from CO poisoning (deaths registered in 2016-2017 in England and Wales) is available at the following link:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/adhocs/009122numberofdeathsfromaccidentalpoisoningbycarbonmonoxideenglandandwalesdeathsregisteredin2017

Public Health England (PHE) is working closely with the Department and other Government departments to raise awareness of the health impacts of air pollution generally and CO specifically, and to improve the dissemination of evidence.

PHE’s programme of CO work seeks to increase understanding of the prevalence of low level CO exposure, improve CO exposure diagnosis and prevent CO exposure occurring.

PHE works with national and local stakeholders, public health partners and government departments to develop advice and actions, which can be taken to prevent accidental exposure to CO in homes, available to view at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/carbon-monoxide-co

PHE published a tool for general practitioners, emergency physicians and other medical professionals in England to diagnose and manage CO poisoning in patients. This document can be viewed at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/carbon-monoxide-co-algorithm-to-diagnose-poisoning

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