Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Help stop a bad idea

In a rare departure from things art and Japanese, I have to use this forum to urge you to tell Washington State's Building Code Council to reject an amendment up for a vote in just 2 days, November 19th, that would delay implementation of a piece of previously-approved legislation requiring carbon monoxide detectors in residential buildings in Washington State.  My cousin, Lauren Johnson, was killed by CO poisoning in January 2009, so this is personal for me.  But beyond my own family's grief, it's important to note that unintentional exposure to carbon monoxide is the most common type of accidental poisoning in the United States, with 40,000 emergency department visits made each year because of the effects of the colorless, odorless gas. Here's the letter I wrote to the council:

Dear Washington State Building Code Council,

I urge each of you to please do the right thing on November 19th and reject the proposal before you that would amend legislation already in place requiring installation of carbon monoxide alarms in residential facilities in Washington State.  My cousin, Lauren Johnson, was killed by carbon monoxide while reading in her apartment in January of 2009.  Her rented apartment did not contain a $30 CO detector, a device which would have plain and simply saved her most amazing life.  Property owners don't get to delay doing this simple, morally right thing, just because they think it's a pain, or they don't want to take on the cost of detectors.  I can tell you it is a really REALLY BIG  pain to have someone you love killed in such a stupid, preventable way.  (It is also a pretty big pain for property owners to deal with the legal fallout of such egregious negligence toward their tenants or new property owners.)  Don't bend for property owners on this one.  Make them do the right thing and save lives.  It has already been debated and passed into law.  So its time for everyone to follow the law, not sometime in the future, but now.

I am letting all my Facebook friends and all my Twitter followers know that this is in your laps.  So you'll probably be hearing from a few of them too.


Beth Cullom

Here is the email list to mail to:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

If you'd like anymore information about Washington's CO legislation, or a full list of council members, please let me know.  Thanks for considering lending your voice to this important issue.


  1. Is Washinton Toxics Coalition helping fight this fight?

  2. I don't know. I will make contact and see.