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Government report slams gas appliances

MATERIALS

LEVELS of poisonous gases emitted by flueless gas appliances such as water heaters, cookers and gas fires in homes could exceed outdoor air quality standards, a Government report has shown.

Research into flueless gas appliance emissions, commissioned by the Department for Trade and Industry alongside the Health and Safety Executive, concluded that under certain conditions levels of pollutants were undesirable.

Tests show that levels of poisonous nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitrogen monoxide could exceed outdoor air quality levels if appliances including boilers were poorly maintained.

Exposure to high levels of nitrogen dioxide can cause irritation to the eye, nose and throat and in some cases impaired lung function; carbon monoxide is fatal in high concentrations and nitrogen monoxide can cause emphysema.

Although tests were carried out under 'worst case' conditions with reduced ventilation, extended periods of operation and with safety devices switched off, the results were disturbing enough for the Government to pledge to reduce the concentration of pollutants.

It proposed to:

n push for amendment of European standards for gas appliances to ensure reduced emissions;

n push for amendment of UK installation standards in order to reduce concentrations of pollutants;

n work with the British Standards Institute to ensure national standards reflect the latest innovations.