The House

Proof matters: the vital importance of testing for Carbon Monoxide

No one is immune from the dangers of Carbon Monoxide (CO). Recent progress shows that positive action can be taken. We owe it to the victims and survivors of this ‘silent killer’ to do more.


We spend 92% of our time indoors1. Pollutants are more concentrat­ed indoors yet easy to eliminate.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) symptoms are similar to a virus, including COVID-19. Diagnosing CO in survivors is almost impossible because CO leaves breath and blood quickly; even if blood is tested, it is usually negative for CO. But CO can continue to cause injury including brain damage and survivors cannot prove exposure to CO to their medics or families. This lack of proof results in unsympathe­tic and wrong treatment, wasted NHS funds, low awareness and almost no data, meaning no safety improvemen­ts.

CO-Gas Safety’s article in the House Magazine September 2021 outlined CO dangers and changes needed, see: its-time-for-action-against-the-silentkill­er-in-our-homes/

After 27 years lobbying for relighting and testing air in homes for CO, progress is finally being made

In recent months Ofgem has provided millions in funds to the four Gas Emergency Service providers to help protect vulnerable customers from the dangers of CO. This includes Cadent Gas, which launched a pilot programme for customers involving testing for CO during emergency visits in April 2021. Speaking on this, Cadent’s Phil Burrows said:

“Cadent launched a pilot programme for vulnerable customers in April 2021. Some of Cadent’s engineers, quali ed under CMDDA1, test gas appliances for CO. If the source of CO is found, action is taken to make the emitting appliance safe. This keeps the customer safe and warm in their home.”

We must do more

Let’s hope all the Gas Emergency Service providers follow Cadent’s example and go further by providing proof should CO be detected because, however wealthy, wise and competent a person might be, everyone is vulnerable to CO, including parliament­arians. As Parliament­arians, you could achieve change. Please act now to impose a legal requiremen­t on gas emergency service call outs to test for deadly, invisible carbon monoxide and if CO found, to provide con rmed proof for survivors and their medics.

Stephanie Trotter OBE

is a barrister and President/Director of the independen­t registered charity, CO-Gas Safety.

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