18 carbon monoxide poisoning cases reported in Jan.


TAIPEI–Eighteen incidents of carbon monoxide poisoning have been reported from the beginning of this year as of Wednesday, leading to hypoxic injuries to 55 people, including 13 between Monday and Wednesday, following the strongest cold snap to hit Taiwan in a decade over the weekend, according to statistics released Thursday by the National Fire Agency.

Three more people were rushed to a hospital early Thursday in a suspected case of carbon monoxide poisoning in Taipei City’s Neihu District.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, toxic gas formed by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels. Cases of carbon monoxide poisoning tend to happen when a room is poorly ventilated. This usually takes place during the freezing cold months of winter when many people shut all their windows and doors to keep out the biting wind while taking a hot bath in water heated with gas-fired heaters, the agency noted.

Homes with fuel-burning appliances such as water heaters are more likely to have people exposed to dangerously high levels of carbon monoxide, it said.

The agency advised people to ensure good air circulation indoors when using gas stoves and ovens and gas-fired water heaters, to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

The 13 cases of carbon monoxide poisoning reported between Monday and Wednesday were mainly caused by improperly installed water heaters that were either installed indoors or close to houses, and by poor indoor air circulation, according to the agency.