A new study funded by the CO Research Trust shows the potential of the the new medical examiner role to transform the reporting of carbon monoxide (CO) incident data. However, it also warns that avoidable deaths from CO exposure will be missed unless action is taken.

The preliminary findings of the project suggest that CO exposure is a likely factor in avoidable deaths, and that coroners and medical examiners should consider CO exposure as a significant contributory factor to a cause of death in their patients.

The report also suggests that any improvement in reporting requires an holistic approach.

The research was commissioned following the 2011 All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group (APPCOG) report which identified a key role for coroners to support increased detection of CO poisoning in England and Wales. The report recommended that “The Government should ensure that all coroners’ post-mortems routinely test for carboxyhaemoglobin (COHb) levels”.

By law, where CO is suspected as a cause of death, cases are referred to the coroner. This report highlights the opportunities offered by the introduction of the medical examiner system and recent scientific developments, which have the potential to improve the consideration of CO exposure as a factor in the investigation of a death.

Better data collection and greater awareness of the effect of CO on public health, will help develop strategies to reduce death and harm from exposure to CO in the home.

On Thursday 17th Feb, lead researcher on the project, Isabella Myers will be presenting the findings of the study, as part of the CO Research Trust lecture series.

To sign up to the presentation, please click the link below.


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Notes to editors

About the CO Research Trust

The CO Research Trust (formerly the Gas Safety Trust) is a registered charity which was established in 2005. The vision of the charity is a world where people are not exposed to carbon monoxide (CO).

For more information please contact;

Natalie Fleck

CO Research Trust



Follow us: @COResearchTrust

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