Research conducted by CORGI HomePlan has revealed that one in 10 adults in Britain have experienced carbon monoxide poisoning to some degree in their home.
A further one in 11 know someone who has been poisoned.
This means that 8.4m Brits have, or know someone who has, fallen victim to the colourless, odourless gas known as the silent killer.
The research conducted with 2,000 homeowners, was part of CORGI HomePlan’s campaign to keep homes safe and warm this winter.
Those surveyed were able to identify the key symptoms of CO poisoning – with nausea (51%), headache (47%), dizziness (54%), confusion (38%), tiredness (60%) and loss of consciousness (84%) all correctly highlighted.
The study worryingly reveals the sheer number of households at risk of leaks that lead to poisoning over the next 12 months.
With a massive one in 11 boilers classified as unsafe, according to statistics from the Gas Safe Register, this means a minimum of 2.27m homes are leaving themselves at risk of being exposed to the silent killer.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is most often attributed to a fault with a gas boiler, fire or gasappliance. The survey revealed that almost half of households (49%) still do not have a carbon monoxide alarm.
Kevin Treanor, Director of CORGI HomePlan, says: “Every year in the UK, 4,000 people go to A&E due to the effects of carbon monoxide, with 200 of those hospitalised and 50 cases resulting in death. However, today’s findings suggest this may just be the tip of the iceberg.
“The reality is exposure, even at a low level, can lead to life-changing health problems including brain damage, memory loss and depression. Regular servicing of all gas appliances and installing a carbon monoxide alarm will vastly increase the safety and protection of UK homeowners.”
GP Dr Helen Webberley continues: “I’m shocked at the number of patients who come into my surgery displaying symptoms, without realising the cause. Clearly awareness of carbon monoxide poisoning and its prevalence is too low. Brits must be vigilant to tell-tale signs which include dizziness, headaches, breathlessness and loss of consciousness.”
To help keep the UK’s homes safer, CORGI HomePlan gave away free carbon monoxide alarms via its website throughout October – a promotion that saw more than 120,000 people claim an alarm.
CORGI HomePlan also produced a guide to protecting against carbon monoxide. This free safety resource was downloaded from CORGI HomePlan’s website more than 20,000 times.