Ugeskr Læger 2007;169(21):2020-2024
Summary Carbon Monoxide Deaths Caused by Town Gas in Denmark 1995-99: Ugeskr Læger 2007;169(21):2020-2024 Introduction: Over the years town gas has caused many fatal carbon monoxide poisonings. The aim of this paper is to document the circumstances surrounding town gas deaths in Denmark between1995-1999 and to trace the development of these deaths in recent decades. Materials and Methods: A retrospective study of death certificates and report material concerning carbon monoxide deaths in Denmark between 1995-1999 caused by town gas. Of 449 non-fire related carbon monoxide poisonings, 22 (4.9%) were caused by town gas. Results: The deaths consisted of fourteen suicides, six accidents, and two with undetermined manner of death. Ten (71%) of the suicide victims were men and four (29%) were women, with an average age of 48 years (24-82 years); all had turned on two or more gas rings. The accident victims were one man and five women, with an average age of 84 years (77-92 years); all had only turned on one gas ring. Conclusion: The number of town gas deaths has been drastically reduced since 1969, which can be explained by the reduced number of town gas installations containing carbon monoxide as well as preventive measures. Most deaths can probably be avoided when the town gas supply is switched to carbon monoxide-free town gas in 2007, but it is important to be aware that incomplete combustion of carbon monoxide-free town gas can still lead to carbon monoxide poisonings.