News brief for Dec. 22

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State health officials are urging Coloradans to purchase and install carbon monoxide detectors in their homes to prevent exposure to the deadly gas. According to Colorado Department of Public Health statistics, 200 people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning associated with home fuel-burning heating equipment.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that is produced when any fuel is incompletely burned. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to flu-like illnesses and include dizziness, fatigue, nausea and irregular breathing.

The first line of defense is to make certain that all fuel-burning appliances operate properly, but a properly working carbon monoxide detector is the second defense that can provide an early warning to consumers before gas builds up to a dangerous level. Most devices cost less than $100. Susan Parachini, a program manager for the Department of Public health and Environment's Consumer Protection Division, says, "Carbon monoxide detectors are as important to home safety as smoke detectors are." Call the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's Consumer Protection Division at (303) 692-3620.

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