Toxic exposures rise over weekend

The number of Connecticut residents sickened by carbon monoxide exposure in the wake of Sandy has risen to 43, according to the state’s poison control center. The state has also seen 12 residents sickened by propane exposure or gas siphoning since last Tuesday.

Officials from the poison centers said the number of carbon monoxide cases has been particularly high in the storm’s wake, and is mainly due to improper use of generators. With temperatures expected to be chilly this week, there could be another spike in carbon monoxide incidents, said Amy Hanoian-Fontana, communication education specialist for the center. Colder weather usually brings an increase in these calls because more people turn their heating systems on as the temperature drops, she said.

Also, some in the state continue to be without power during the storm. And weather experts have said that another storm expected next week could bring on more outages. That could mean more toxic exposures, Hanoian-Fontana said, as people bring charcoal or propane grills inside their homes to keep warm, or increase their use of generators.

Here are some dos and don’ts from the Connecticut Department of Public Health on avoiding exposure to toxic gas:
Don’t use portable generators inside your home, garage, carport, basement or any other enclosed space, such as a
covered porch.

Don’t use charcoal or gas grills or camping stoves inside your home.

Don’t use propane or kerosene heaters inside your home.

Don’t use your gas oven or stove top to heat your home.

Do use gasoline-powered equipment, like generators, outside only and at least 20 feet from your home.

Do keep your generator away from doors, windows or air intake vents.

Do make sure outside vents are not blocked with snow or leaves.

If you have a question about carbon monoxide poisoning dial 2-1-1 or contact the Connecticut Department of Public Health at
(860) 509-7740 or go to

Amanda Cuda