April 18 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Thursday it is drafting a new rule to require carbon monoxide detectors in public housing.
The agency issued a notice Thursday to all public housing authorities and private owners of subsidized housing, encouraging them to install working carbon monoxide detectors in their properties or maintain ones required by state or local regulations.
The notice sought to remind owners, managers and agents of some HUD-assisted housing to make sure they have CO detectors in the properties they oversee, as required by state or local regulations.
It also encouraged those in areas where such regulations don't exist to install detectors in units with fuel-fired/burning appliances and/or an attached garage, and in bedrooms that have fireplaces or other fuel-fired/burning appliances.
"A simple, inexpensive, widely available device can be the difference between life and death," HUD Secretary Ben Carson said. "Given the unevenness of state and local law, we intend to make certain that CO detectors are required in all our housing programs, just as we require smoke detectors, no matter where our HUD-assisted families live."
More than 11,000 cases of CO exposure are reported to poison control centers and more than 400 people die due to CO poisoning each year, the notice stated.
"Because CO is undetectable through sight, smell, sound or touch, a device is necessary to determine the presence of high and dangerous concentrations of CO in a residence," the department said.
Notices were issued to programs including public housing, section 8 project-based rental assistance, housing choice voucher, section 202 and section 811.
"HUD anticipates issuing further guidance and instructions on this important public health issue," the department said.