26 September 2023

Indoor BBQs declared a no-go

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NSW Health is warning the community not to take outdoor heaters or BBQs inside following an increase in calls to the Poisons Information Centre related to carbon monoxide poisonings.

Director of Environmental Health at NSW Health, Dr Richard Broome urged people to always use outdoor gas heaters, BBQs and portable generators in well-ventilated outdoor spaces only, and ensure nothing that was intended for outdoor use was brought into the home or garage.

“Burning charcoal, BBQ coal outdoor heaters, and portable backup generators are some of the biggest concerns,” Dr Broome said.

“The carbon monoxide, which is released from outdoor heaters and BBQs, is a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas which means you can’t know that you’re breathing it in,” he said.

“When carbon monoxide is breathed in, it displaces oxygen in the blood and deprives the heart, brain and other vital organs of oxygen which can cause unconsciousness and – sadly in some instances – death.”

Dr Broome said symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning included headache, nausea, vomiting and dizziness.

“Prolonged exposure can have very serious consequences,” the Director said.

“If you suspect someone has been exposed to carbon monoxide, contact the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26.”

He said it was also important to have indoor gas heaters serviced regularly by a licenced gas fitter.

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