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Gov't Issues Carbon Monoxide Warning
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China's Ministry of Health (MOH) on Monday urged local governments to raise public awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide after 18 people were gassed to death this month.


Low air pressures and poor air circulation in homes resulted in the deaths of 15 people in Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture, in northeast China's Jilin Province. Another 277 were admitted to hospital for poisoning. In Hefei City of east China's Anhui Province, 88 people suffered carbon monoxide poisoning. Three people died.


Low air pressures caused chimneys to back flow and the deadly exhaust from burning coal filled living areas with carbon monoxide, an odorless, deadly gas.


The government announcement, jointly released by MOH and the State Administration of Work Safety, outlined comprehensive measures to prevent such accidents from happening again.


Local governments have been told to undertake a massive inspection of home heating systems.


The announcement also requires townships, community residential committees and police forces to check the heating facilities and air circulation in houses, rural workers' dormitories, enclosed public spaces, as well as factories.


It notes that the living quarters of migrant workers in cities are a priority for the inspections. It also wants the living conditions of migrant workers to be improved to meet basic health and safety standards.


Local governments are also to raise public awareness of the prevention of carbon monoxide poisoning through a media campaign.


The announcement also calls for improved weather forecasts to inform the public of abnormal climate conditions that might cause down drafts in chimneys.


(Xinhua News Agency February 21, 2006)

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