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Trading Standards warning over silent killer

29 September 2015

The Trading Standards Service has issued a warning to consumers after independent tests on CO alarms found that eight out of 10 failed British Standards tests.


 The warning comes as new Smoke and Carbon Monoxide legislation comes in to force demanding that all private sector landlords regularly test smoke and CO alarms in all rented properties.

The new legislation, that comes in to force on 1 October 2015, is expected to prevent up to 26 deaths and 670 injuries a year. Trading Standards is advising consumers to check their appliances are in proper working order and to test their CO alarms in order to alert them to the ‘silent and invisible killer’ after tests showed many devices were faulty.

John Stones, managing director of Gas Safe Europe, said: "Carbon Monoxide is a silent killer and yet one that is easy to protect against. Consumers should fit alarms and regularly test them to ensure they’re in working order and fit for purpose.”

CO alarms are sold to alert consumers to rising and deadly CO levels, yet when Trading Standards sent 10 types of alarm for testing to the British Standard, eight of which failed in one way or another.

The tests once again raise issues relating to the sensor inside the alarms having a limited and indeterminable life with earlier research highlighting that up to 45% of CO alarms less than a few years old are no longer sensing gas.

Stones continued: "To effectively test CO alarms and ensure landlords meet the new legislation by having working alarms they need to test the sensor and not rely on the so called Test Button which just tests the battery, buzzer and electronic circuit. This can only be done by injecting a specific and safe level of test gas over the alarm.”