Health and safety warning for gas heater users in NSW

People who use gas heaters to warm their homes and workplaces this winter are being reminded to be aware of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.

NSW Health and Fair Trading issued the reminder after a woman recently died from carbon monoxide poisoning in her Melbourne home

NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rose Webb said the recent incident highlighted the need for consumers to be made aware of the dangers.

“Harmful gases such as carbon monoxide can be released from open-flue heaters, outdoor heaters, burning charcoal or BBQ coal,” Ms. Webb said.

Genevieve Adamo, a Senior Specialist in Toxicovigilance at the NSW Poisons Information Centre, said when breathed in carbon monoxide displaces oxygen in the bloodstream and deprives the heart, brain and vital organs of oxygen.

“Symptoms can include headaches, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness, and prolonged exposure to this gas can have severe consequences including falling unconscious and in some instances death,” Ms. Adamo said

The NSW Poisons Information Centre recommends the following tips:

  • ensure the heater and gas supply are certified, properly installed and regularly serviced;
  • well ventilated room;
  • turn off the heater when you leave home or work; and,
  • ensure children are supervised around heaters.

If you think someone has been exposed to carbon monoxide then you should immediately contact the NSW Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26,” Ms Adamo said.

For more information visit www.health.nsw.gov.au or www.fairtrading.com.au.

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