COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Allen Benedict Court residents are still finding out where they’ll have to live after being evacuated from their homes.
At the same time, many of them are worried about health concerns after two men were killed from a toxic gas leak on the property.
A doctor from Lexington Family Practice White Knoll said the long-term effects of exposure to carbon monoxide can be serious.
“Because the carbon monoxide molecule just binds at such a higher rate than oxygen, it can really damage a lot of nerves in our brain,” Dr. Kelli Savia said. “Much like the long-term symptoms, the initial symptoms are very similar. Brain fog, memory loss, even heart issues. Headache is the most common symptom that people present with initially.”
The Center for Disease Control refers to carbon monoxide as the “Quiet Killer,” because it’s a colorless, odorless gas that can cause dizziness, nausea, or death. That’s something the residents of Allen Benedict Court have raised concerns over because they don’t know if they’ve been exposed or for how long.
Dr. Savia said one of the best ways of preventing long term exposure, is to have a working carbon monoxide detector. Unfortunately for residents at Allen Benedict Court…those simply weren’t provided. We asked representatives from the Columbia Housing Authority if they were planning to offer free screening for residents, and they said there weren’t any official plans yet, and that re-housing was the top priority at the moment.
“Without any treatment, the amount of time it takes for carbon monoxide to slowly get out of your body is much longer than if you have oxygen on,” Savia said. “That’s why it’s so important to get assessed and treated quickly.”
If you already have a carbon monoxide detector, the Center for Disease Control recommends placing it near your bedroom in a spot that will wake you up if it starts alarming.