The Health and Social Care Committee has launched a major new inquiry into prevention and is calling for input relating to specific issues that should be explored.

The CO Research Trust has taken this opportunity to highlight what it believes to be a widespread risk of CO exposure among pregnant women and unborn children.

A recent project funded by the CO Research Trust, entitled Identifying and Protecting Women from CO Exposure, found that there is a significant public health concern relating to the lack of awareness around the exposure of unborn children to CO.

Evidence is accumulating of high domestic CO levels, with UK homes at levels above those recommended as safe (Croxford et al. 2008). Other studies have also indicated that, compared with fire alarms, CO alarms are rarely installed in owner occupied homes and despite changes to legislation it is currently unknown whether the private rented sector is complying.

The foetus in utero is extremely vulnerable to CO exposure (Aubard & Magne 2000). Chronic exposure can cause disproportionate harm to the foetus, placing them at greater risk of damage than the mother.

The research project “Identifying and Protecting Women from CO Exposure” funded by CORT found that multiple factors put unborn children at risk, including a lack of awareness amongst pregnant women and midwifery staff as well as high-risk pregnancies.

It is hoped that the Trust's submission will help the Committee decide that this is a critical area on which to focus its attention.

The Trust's full submission to the inquiry can be downloaded here.

Full inquiry submission

Download  CO Research Circle