Carbon Monoxide Law in California

As of July 1st 2011 all California homes must have Carbon Monoxide detectors installed when a home is built or when it is sold.  I thought this was an odd requirement for a fair weather state.  The CDC claims 400 people die every year in the USA of Carbon Monoxide poisoning.   The State of California accounts for 11% of the population of the US, so if we pro-rate with all other things being equal, that would amount to 47 victims in California every year.  The LA Times claims that up to 40 people die each year in California from Carbon Monoxide poisoning (but they fail to provide a credible reference to that statement.)  Regardless, it demonstrates my extrapolated number roughly agrees with their claim.  There are about 11 million homes in the state, and an average Carbon Monoxide detector costs $25 and lasts 5 years.  So this means that we have just created a  $55 million dollar per year revenue stream for Kidde and the likes for the foreseeable future.  This also means that we the tax payers need to shell out $1.375 million dollar per victim.

Now, Kidde and other interested groups tell us about the dangers of Carbon Monoxide poisoning but they forget to tell us that Carbon Monoxide poisoning is common in cold states where people operate gas fueled heaters in a closed home.  This is not common in the State of California.  Also they claim that Carbon Monoxide poisoning can happen from a malfunctioning gas burning appliance like a furnace but the overwhelming number of accidents is from someone stupidly operating a gas generator inside a home for power and heating.

So in reality, Carbon Monoxide related deaths due to malfunctions is insignificant and we have to ask ourselves why California State Senator Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) pushed this bill through.  I wonder how much Kidde contributed to his campaign… This bill doesn’t make sense for California.


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