House passes carbon monoxide detector bill

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WASHINGTON (WSAV) – The effort to help some people afford carbon monoxide detectors cleared the U.S. House of Representatives with a unanimous vote on Tuesday.

The bill, The Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act is co-sponsored by Georgia’s 1st District Congressman Buddy Carter. Annie Kuster (D-NH) is the co-sponsor of the measure, which now heads to the Senate.

A statement from Carter’s office says:

“The bipartisan legislation creates a new grant program to install carbon monoxide alarms in the homes of elderly and low-income individuals, as well as schools and other public facilities. The Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act also provides incentives for states to pass laws to require CO alarms.

We have had serious carbon monoxide poisoning incidents at home in the First District of Georgia,” said Carter. “Earlier this year, a Savannah mother and her two children were taken to the hospital due to carbon monoxide poisoning. This legislation is so important because it will work to prevent serious incidents like this. I’m very glad that this legislation was approved by the House today to help protect Americans from the dangers of this gas.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are over 400 deaths and 20,000 emergency room visits caused by carbon monoxide poisoning every year.”

Carter says the bill would appropriate two million dollars a year for the next five years to launch the grant program for the CO detectors, but he concedes the bill does not address the millions of people who receive subsidies from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, (HUD), but the federal government does not require the carbon monoxide detectors as part of the safety equipment that needs to be in place in 900,000 public housing units across the country.

The safety devices are also not a requirement for landlord’s holding Section 8 contracts with HUD. Carter says his bill does not address that issue, “That is not included, in, specifically, however, it is my understanding, as you say, that it is not a requirement of HUD, but that’s the target audience for us. Well, that’s certainly something that we need to visit,” Carter said.

HUD sent the following statement to WSAV: “As the Secretary has said many times, any death is one too many. We are glad to see that both the House and Senate are putting forward proposals on how to best protect families from dangerous levels of carbon monoxide in HUD-assisted housing. We’ve got to get this done.”

Carter says until HUD acts, his measure will give low income and elderly people an option to apply for a grant for a carbon monoxide detector.

“That is not included, in, specifically, however, it is my understanding, as you say, that it is not a requirement of HUD, but that’s the target audience for us. Well, that’s certainly something that we need to visit and, we haven’t talked much about it, but a, appreciate that suggestion,” Carter said.

A HUD spokesperson says there is legislation in the works to require carbon monoxide detectors at all HUD-funded properties in the country, but there is no word on when that legislation will emerge from either house. Carter’s bill is now heading to the U.S. Senate.

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