Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME) today introduced legislation to help prevent carbon monoxide-related deaths. The Nicholas and Zachary Burt Memorial Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act, named for two young brothers from Kimball who died from carbon monoxide poisoning, would empower the Consumer Product Safety Commission to enforce tougher standards to help ensure carbon monoxide detectors are safe and reliable.

“We know that all too often the tragedy of someone dying from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning could have been prevented with better safeguards,” Klobuchar said. “This bill will help ensure that families in Minnesota and across the country can sleep soundly knowing that they are protected from this deadly poison.”

“The danger posed by carbon monoxide poisoning is significant, especially in states like Maine with harsh winters where individuals have attempted to utilize dangerous methods to stay warm. Carbon monoxide detectors are essential in Maine households and it is absolutely vital that strong safety standards are in place for these alarms so that Mainers and Americans can detect when deadly fumes are present. This bipartisan legislation will help achieve that goal,” said Senator Snowe.

“We thank Sen. Klobuchar for her continued leadership in consumer product safety issues, and specifically in protecting Americans from carbon monoxide poisoning,” said Jerry Rosendahl, Minnesota State Fire Marshal and President of the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM).“NASFM is extremely supportive of this legislation and the overall effort to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.”

According to the Center for Disease Control, approximately 500 people die each year from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning and another 15,000 are forced to seek medical attention for accidental CO exposure. Especially dangerous in Minnesota is the risk of poisoning associated with running an automobile engine in an attached garage or burning charcoal in the house.

The senators’ legislation would strengthen the safety standards for carbon monoxide alarms.  Currently, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has voluntary standards, set by Underwriters Laboratories.  The legislation would make these safety standards mandatory for all carbon monoxide alarms sold in the U.S. The bill also authorizes the CPSC to provide resources to states to educate the public and promote the use of carbon monoxide detectors.

Klobuchar and Snowe serve on the Senate Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Consumer Product Safety Commission.