Jeff Danielson

Jeff Danielson

The Iowa Senate has passed a bill that would require carbon monoxide detectors in apartments and rental homes as well as any new structure that’s built in Iowa.

Senator Jeff Danielson, a Democrat from Cedar Falls, says stand-alone detectors cost between $20 and $50, plus many smoke detectors now contain a carbon monoxide sensor as well.

“We have an opportunity to save a handful of lives in Iowa with a technology that now is readily available and for pennies on the dollar,” Danielson says.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas. Danielson, who is a professional fire fighter, says it’s toxic because carbon monoxide inhibits the blood’s ability to carry oxygen.

“We have documented cases in the fire service of people in their homes who wake up in the middle of the night, know there is a fire, smoke is around them and can’t move because carbon monoxide paralyzes you,” Danielson says.

Officials say about 300 Iowans wind up in an emergency room each year to be treated for carbon monoxide poisoning.

“Of that, roughly 30-40 are hospitalized for the more serious cases,” Danielson says. “And then about 20 Iowans a year die from carbon monoxide poisoning and yet we have no requirement at all in Iowa for a carbon monoxide detector to be installed in your home.”

If the bill becomes law, private home owners would be asked to voluntarily install a carbon monoxide detector when they apply for the homestead tax credit. The bill passed the Senate on a 37 to 11 vote late Monday afternoon. It now goes to the House, where a similar bill has been under consideration.