“They were very sick”: Carbon monoxide poisoning cases in schools and daytime prompt review of state laws

Two separate incidents of carbon monoxide leaks at a Missouri school and a Pennsylvania day care are raising questions about whether state laws require carbon monoxide detectors in child care settings. But the answer is complicated, and at least 10 states have no such law.

Six students and two adults were taken to a local hospital Wednesday morning after they fell ill at a Kansas City elementary school due to a carbon monoxide leak. The Kansas City Fire Department said it detected extremely high levels of the odorless, toxic gas inside the building and evacuated the school.

Missouri is one of the states that does not require carbon monoxide detectors in schools or day care.

In another incident, Pennsylvania Day Care Last week there was a leak that sent at least 16 people to the hospital. Pennsylvania also does not have a law requiring carbon monoxide detectors in day care.

Dr. Kenneth Katz, who treated the patients, told CBS News, “Most of them were improving as we looked at them. But not saying they were very sick.” Pain in chest.”

Virginia Beach mother, Nikki James Zellner, said the Pennsylvania incident reminded her of a carbon monoxide leak two years ago at the Virginia Day Care Facility where her son Owen was being cared for. She said Owen was lethargic and confused.

“His level was high [of carbon monoxide] in his bloodstream,” she told CBS News. “He had irritability and behavioral problems for about one to two weeks.”

Zellner’s experience led him on a crusade to change the statute in Virginia, which paid off when the governor signed a bill last year requiring all public schools, including day care, to have at least one carbon monoxide detector. was needed.

There is no federal law requiring detectors in schools. CBS News has learned that states that require detectors often have a warning with them – such as only in buildings built after 2015 or those with a carbon monoxide source such as a gas furnace or boiler.

Zelner said he has received pushback for his efforts to install detectors in schools. “Most of the pushback I got was related to who paid for all of this,” she told CBS News. Industrial detectors can cost up to $240.

Dr. Katz said the carbon monoxide detector “is a low-cost device that will clearly save lives.”

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