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10/07/2013
Hackney Homes helps raise awareness of carbon monoxide exposure

Hackney Homes and Public Health England officers were invited to present at a parliamentary seminar that took place in the House of Commons on last month, to give a presentation on establishing carbon monoxide (CO) exposure in local authority housing in Hackney.
 
The seminar was arranged by the All-Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group (APPCOG); a cross-party coalition of MPs and Peers working together to improve policy around carbon monoxide.
 
To date Hackney Homes has installed over 23,000 carbon monoxide detectors, identifying  if there is  presence of carbon monoxide within properties across the borough. 
 
The alarms have significantly improved the safety of residents, alerting them to any dangerous levels of carbon monoxide should it be be present in their home.   
 
Formal fumes investigations are undertaken on all activations notified to the team. The results of these have been analysed in a report  published in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health. This has shown that there could be a higher incidence of low level, non fatal CO poisoning than is generally realised.   A significant proportion of the alarm activations have been caused by faulty gas cookers or incorrect use of cookers.
 
As a result of findings, Hackney Homes has extended the installation of CO detectors to all dwellings with gas supplies; even if there is no landlord gas appliance installed.
 
Cabinet Member for Hackney Homes, Councillor Philip Glanville said: “The safety of our residents is extremely important, installing alarms and raising awareness of carbon monoxide poisoning helps us to highlight this issue and contribute towards reducing the number of incidents of carbon monoxide poisoning.”

Giovanni Leonardi, Head of Epidemiology at PHE’s Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards, said: “At lower levels, carbon monoxide may produce symptoms which resemble flu or food poisoning, such as headaches, tiredness, difficulty in thinking clearly and feeling sick.  Fitting audible alarms, as Hackney Homes have done, can help to protect people from exposure to this colourless, tasteless and odourless gas.”

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