Governor urged to sign carbon monoxide safety bill

April 27, 2010 7:24:29 PM PDT
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is under pressure to sign legislation to protect people from carbon monoxide poisoning. It would require everyone in the Bay Area to make a small investment for people's safety.

It's a scary situation that plays out throughout California every year: a colorless and odor gas -- carbon monoxide -- seeps out someone's heater or appliance with terrible consequences to unsuspecting residents.

Ta' Juan Campbell's sister, Tara Lynn, died in her Beverly Hills apartment three years ago.

"She turned on her heater, laid on the couch to watch TV before bed, and she was killed by carbon monoxide poisoning that night," said Ta' Juan Campbell, the victim's brother from West Covina.

Surviving such incidents, like Cynthia Smith of San Francisco did, has lifelong health effects.

"My motor skills were impacted and my vision became worse. I ceased to be able to work or drive normally," said Smith.

The California Air Resources Board says up to 40 avoidable deaths and up to 700 avoidable emergency room visits occur every year because of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Schwarzenegger has a proposal on his desk that would require existing homes with fireplaces or attached garages, rentals and dorms to install carbon monoxide detectors. Victims and lawmakers urged him to sign it.

"It's time for California to join with the other 26 states that have already passed these life-saving measures," said St. Sen. Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach.

The governor vetoed similar legislation last year; so while the bill, while it makes sense, it is not a slam dunk.

He thought the Buildings Commission should regulate new home requirements, not the Legislature, but this year's measure excludes them. Other opponents didn't like the costs to property owners, but just ask Jason Sanders from Turlock the value of a $30 alarm.

"If it was not for our carbon monoxide detector, my family would have been dead in minutes," said Sanders.


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