A new study reported in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine suggests that carbon monoxide poisonings at hotels and motels are not decreasing, although they are not a common malady for travelers. Researchers of the study found 68 cases of carbon monoxide poisoning at resorts, motels, and hotels across the country between 1989 and 2004.
The research indicated that 27 people died of these poisonings, and a further 772 people became ill as a result of the carbon monoxide. Researchers say that the odds of any one person becoming ill from carbon monoxide while traveling are quite low. However, Dr. Lindell Weaver of LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah, who headed the study, points out that carbon monoxide poisonings are not decreasing in number and are fatal and serious when they do occur.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless and colorless gas that is produced by heating systems, cars, gas ranges, and other appliances. In hotels, carbon monoxide can build up if a fuel burning appliance, furnace, water heater, or other item is not properly vented or is important condition. In some cases, defective products can lead to excessive carbon monoxide emissions.
Sufferers are of carbon monoxide poisoning may experience nausea, chest pain, confusion, and dizziness. If victims do not leave the area where excessive carbon monoxide is present, the gas will prove fatal. The problem with hotels, according to researchers of the study, is that many people sleep in their hotel rooms. If the gas is present in their room, the carbon monoxide may become fatal before the travelers have a chance to wake.
Federal law and the United States stipulates that resorts, hotels, and motels must have smoke detectors in every guest room. However, there are no national laws about the presence of carbon monoxide detectors. Some states require hotels, motels, and resorts to have carbon monoxide alarms somewhere on the premises of the property. However, none of the states require a carbon monoxide detector in each guest room.
Researchers however, point out to that carbon monoxide detectors only cost about $25 per unit. Therefore, the researchers argue that having carbon monoxide detectors which can prevent fatalities makes a great deal of sense. Despite this, the researchers from the study reported that of the 43 hotels, motels, and resorts they were able to contact which had experienced a carbon monoxide poisoning incident, only 12% had installed carbon monoxide detectors since experiencing a fatality or injury on site.
The head researcher of the study pointed out that he travels with his own carbon monoxide detector. While he points out that the risk of poisoning is relatively low in hotels and motels – travelers are more likely to be injured in car accidents, boating accidents, or pedestrian accidents while traveling — he also points out that he does not want to take the risk. He suggests that other travelers may wish to carry their own carbon monoxide detectors as well.