By Zack Budryk
Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D) have reintroduced legislation that would increase oversight of carbon monoxide prevention efforts, citing recent carbon monoxide poisoning deaths in Texas following extreme winter weather.
The legislation, named after two young Minnesotan brothers who died of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, would require the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to ensure the safety and reliability of CO detectors and encourage states to require them in residential homes.
The Nicholas and Zachary Burt Memorial Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act would also authorize the CPSC to establish a federal grant program to fund education and installation of CO detectors by state, local and tribal governments.
“Recent reports highlight the ongoing dangers associated with CO poisonings, which often result from the use of improper use of home heating and power sources—ranging from charcoal grills and campfire stoves to portable generators and car engines. The tragic incidents following the unprecedented winter storms in Texas—in which 700 people were hospitalized, and at least two people died—shed light on the life-threatening risks of CO poisoning,” the senators wrote.
“We recommend that the CPSC take action to better educate and inform families about the risks associated with improper methods to heat and power homes and work with the media to share this critical information,” the statement adds.
In a separate letter to acting CPSC Chairman Robert Adler, the senators asked for further details on what steps the commission is taking to prevent in-home CO poisonings during the pandemic. The letter also requests further information on what data the commission has collected on CO poisonings and what steps it has taken to educate families about CO poisoning risks.
The two close by asking whether the CPSC requires further resources to investigate increased CO poisonings during the pandemic.
Authorities suspect carbon monoxide poisoning in the death of at least three people after winter weather knocked out Texas’s self-contained energy grid. All three men were found dead inside their homes and authorities found abnormally high CO readings in the home of at least one, 34-year-old Lorenzo Charles Washington III.