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Carbon monoxide poisoning on the increase indoors

03/2010, 03.02.2010

BfR brochure evaluates cases of poisoning reported by physicians in 2008

The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) observed a slight increase in the number of cases of carbon monoxide poisoning in indoor areas in 2008. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a central theme in the brochure "Cases of Poisoning Reported by Physicians 2008" which has just been published. According to this, a total of eleven cases were notified in which adults and children suffered damage to their health after using a charcoal grill in their homes. The brochure also describes cases of carbon monoxide poisoning that occurred in indoor go-kart centres. It is available free of charge from BfR.

Grilling seems to be growing into a weather-independent leisure activity. Table-top grills for indoor use are on sale and TV ads show charcoal grills being used in people’s living rooms. This prompted some consumers to light their open charcoal grills indoors and to use the residual heat of the grill as a heat source. This, in turn, resulted in both children and adults having to be treated in hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning.

In 2008 BfR received the first notifications of carbon monoxide poisoning in indoor go-kart facilities. Three of the six notified cases of poisoning were minor, the three others moderately severe. The brochure “Cases of Poisoning Reported by Physicians 2008” contains case descriptions as well as information on poisoning accidents that affected larger numbers of people. Besides immediate emergency and safety measures, responsible communication is also very important in order to avoid panic reactions by the individuals concerned. Furthermore, BfR describes by way of example the causes, consequences and possible steps to be taken in the event of incidents like accidents at work, accidents involving chemicals and accidents in school.

Between 1 August 1990 (the introduction of nationwide mandatory notification) and 31 December 2008, BfR was sent a total of 57,008 medical notifications of poisoning or suspected cases of poisoning. In 2008 the Centre for Documentation and Assessment of Poisonings received 4,210 notifications. The brochure “Cases of Poisoning Reported by Physicians 2008” is intended for doctors, hospital and emergency service staff. It is available free of charge from BfR: fax +49-(0)30-18412-4970, email: and can also be downloaded from


Publications - Brochures

Date Title Size
BfR Information Brochure
Cases of Poisoning - Reported by Physicians 2008 1.9 MB


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