Money Wellness
Image of a carbon monoxide alarm
category iconmanaging your money
calendar icon14 Aug 2023

Watch out for dangerous carbon monoxide alarms

Consumer champion Which? has warned people about the dangerous of buying carbon monoxide (CO) alarms online.

Which? bought cheap carbon monoxide alarms from eBay, Amazon, AliExpress and Wish to test. The experiment revealed they’re not fit for purpose and there’s a risk they would fail to alert households to carbon monoxide that could cause death.

It found 149 listings for unsafe CO alarms across the four marketplaces.

They were all unbranded and made in China and appeared more predominantly if you filtered cheapest first. In some cases, they were being sold for as little as £5.

They have all now been removed after Which? contacted the marketplaces.

Figures indicate that carbon monoxide poisoning has caused more than 200 accidental deaths in England and Wales in the last decade.  

As a result of its findings, Which? is calling on the government to take action and make online marketplaces legally responsible for preventing unsafe and lethal products from being sold on their platforms.

The consumer champion, also believes online marketplaces need to do more to prevent unsafe product listings appearing in the first place, rather than removing these products when contacted to do so.


What’s carbon monoxide poisoning?

Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when carbon monoxide builds up in the blood. When too much carbon monoxide is in the air, the body replaces the oxygen in the red blood cells with carbon monoxide. This can lead to serious tissue damage or even death.

Carbon monoxide is gas that has no odour, taste, or colour. Burning fuels, including gas, wood, propane, or charcoal, make carbon monoxide.

Carbon monoxide can come from fires, gasoline powered generators and indoor charcoal grills.

People who are more susceptible include:

  • Unborn babies
  • Children
  • The elderly
  • Individuals having chronic or lung diseases

Anyone exposed to carbon monoxide needs to get into fresh air and seek medical care right away. Dial 999 for anyone who’s in a coma or can’t respond.


Avatar of Caroline Chell

Caroline Chell

Caroline has worked in financial communications for more than 10 years, writing content on subjects such as pensions, mortgages, loans and credit cards, as well as stockbroking and investment advice.

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