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Quiet death on the lake-outdoor boat-related carbon monoxide poisonings recognized at Lake Powell.

Mccammon J; Baron R; Radtke T
6th World Conference on Injury Prevention and Control, May 12-15, 2002, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Montréal: Presses de l'Université de Montréal, 2002 May; :486-487
The rapid fatal poisoning of two brothers (aged 8 and 11) who were swimming at the back of their family's houseboat on Lake Powell led to a Federal investigation of fatal and non-fatal boat-related carbon monoxide (CO) poisonings. The boys' deaths, occurring in August 2000, were the eighth and ninth fatal boat-related CO poisonings occurring on Lake Powell since 1994. This study was initiated to examine risk factors associated with fatal and severe CO poisonings occurring on Lake Powell so that effective preventions programs could be designed More than 110 poisonings requiring emergency medical treatment occurred on Lake Powell between 1990-2001. The predominance of the poisonings (approximately70%) occurred on houseboats, and most of these poisonings were related to the use of an onboard gasoline-powered generator used to supply electricity for appliances and air-conditioners. Most strikingly, more than half of the poisonings identified on all boats occurred outside of the boat. All fatal houseboat-related poisonings resulted in drowning of people swimming near or occupying the back of boats of similar design. During the course of this study, 64 additional outdoor poisonings associated with houseboats on water bodies other than Lake Powell were reported to the authors. As a result of this study, the USA Coast Guard recalled all boats of this design. One outdoor fatal poisoning (and as many as three non-fatal poisonings) on a ski boat at Lake Powell was related to an activity referred to as "teak surfing". Within weeks of the investigation of the teak surfing death, the authors had collected reports of 14 other severe poisonings related to this same activity elsewhere in the USA. Previously unreported outdoor boat-related CO poisonings are an emerging public health issue in the USA. Such poisonings are preventable, but not without adequate recognition and characterization.
Accident-rates; Accident-prevention; Accident-analysis; Accidents; Injury-prevention; Toxic-gases; Exhaust-gases; Exhaust-systems; Combustion-gases; Combustion-engines; Electrical-generators
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6th World Conference on Injury Prevention and Control, May 12-15, 2002, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division