CDC: CO poisoning hospitalizes thousands annually; rates declining

August 9, 2011

Atlanta – Every year, approximately 15,000 emergency department visits and 500 deaths can be attributed to non-fire-related carbon monoxide poisoning, according to a report released Aug. 5 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC statistics show that CO poisoning is the leading cause of unintentional poisoning deaths in the United States.

The agency compiled the report using 2000-2009 figures from the National Poison Data System. The data indicated that most CO poisonings occur at home. They most commonly involve females, children and adults younger than 45. Slightly more than one-half of CO poisonings occurred between November and February.

From 2006 to 2009, the frequency of CO poisonings declined, which the report said could be attributed to the increased use of home CO alarms and improved use and maintenance of CO-emitting devices, such as portable generators.