Albany, NY - June 23, 2015 - U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer recently announced new legislation to combat the recent rise in carbon monoxide-related deaths. Schumer said he is co-sponsoring S. 1250, the Nicholas and Zachary Burt Memorial Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act. The legislation would allow the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to provide support for public safety education and encourage installation of safe and reliable carbon monoxide detectors. The legislation would require the CPSC to establish a grant program to provide assistance to states and local governments to implement such changes. Schumer will be co-sponsoring the legislation with Senators Amy Klobuchar [D-MN] and Bob Casey [D-PA].
Schumer became aware of this important issue after meeting the family of Amanda Hansen. Hansen, a West Seneca teenager tragically lost her life in January 2009 to carbon monoxide poisoning while at a friend's sleepover. The home did not have a carbon monoxide detector. Schumer said if the house did have a detector, it could have saved Hansen's life. Schumer has worked closely with Amanda's parents since her death to strengthen laws and educate the public about the dangers of Carbon monoxide poisoning. Following Schumer's and other’s urging, in 2009 New York passed Amanda's Law, which would require all New York homes to have carbon monoxide alarms installed. Schumer said despite New York's aggressive fight against carbon monoxide poisoning, it remains a threat nationwide, and that passing the bill now would ensure homes would have enough time to install their alarms by winter, when carbon monoxide poisoning is most prevalent.
"Carbon monoxide poisoning is a silent, deadly killer in all seasons, and congress needs to do more to encourage the installation of life-saving detectors in all American homes and dorms. Public education and prevention-through-detection are the best ways to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, and, while New York has made great strides, national legislation is needed to address the many gaps in standards across the country," said Schumer.
“Senator Schumer's leadership on this issue is truly appreciated by the families of the approximately 400 individuals who are tragically killed annually by carbon monoxide poisoning,” said Ken Hansen, President of the Amanda Hansen Foundation. "We hope to see this legislation enacted to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning through the installation of carbon monoxide detectors in every home nationwide. Senator Schumer has worked with our family on this legislation from the beginning, and my wife Kim and I want to thank Sen. Schumer from the bottom of our hearts, for keeping Amanda’s spirit alive through his leadership on this issue."
According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are over 400 deaths and 20,000 emergency room visits as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning each year and the highest percentage of carbon monoxide exposures occurs during the winter months of December, January, and February. Carbon monoxide poisoning does not just occur indoors, it can happen outside as well. Carbon monoxide is released from combustible materials as they burn and from gas- and propane-powered tools and vehicles, meaning staying too close to the back of a boat, sitting too close to a campfire or using gas or propane stoves in a tent can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
“While some thought carbon monoxide poisoning is only associated with winter months when doors are closed and windows are shut, people are just as susceptible during the summer. Whether you’re standing too close to the back of a boat or run your car air condition in the garage, you can be exposing yourself to carbon monoxide. Ken and Kim Hansen are an incredible family that has turned their pain into action, and now their fight to save lives is will reach far beyond New York State," said Schumer.”