Another horrific carbon monoxide detector story – the Perth Amboy carbon monoxide death was so easily avoidable. All that was needed was working carbon monoxide detectors. Blame the occupants? No. Blame the manufacturers of these detectors who rely on batteries that need to be replaced every six months instead of every year.

Most state laws, including New Jersey’s, require that all residences have carbon monoxide detectors. But the flaw in these regulations, which is directly attributable to neglect by the manufacturers of detectors, is that it does not require a 10-year battery in each of those detectors. For more on the New Jersey law click here.

The dead batteries tragedy seems unavoidable. But it is not. Most manufacturers are making carbon monoxide detectors that have ten year batteries. I have carried such a carbon monoxide detector with me for years. You can buy these detectors on Amazon, click here to see all the offerings.

Perth Amboy Carbon Monoxide dead batteries

The Perth Amboy Carbon Monoxide death and poisonings could have been avoided with a 10-year lithium battery carbon monoxide poisoning.

What Happened in Perth Amboy Carbon Monoxide Tragedy

According to the story on, there were at least three non-working detectors in the multi-family Perth Amboy Carbon Monoxide incident. As reported there:

“A 13-year-old girl died and at least 35 others were injured in an apparent incident of carbon monoxide poisoning in New Jersey.

It happened on Thursday evening inside a three-story residential building on Fayette Street in Perth Amboy.

The girl was rushed to the hospital, but died.

35 other victims, including 7 officers, were evaluated and treated for CO poisoning. Many of the victims were children, seen passing out and getting lightheaded.


According to the story, six of the victims of this poisoning were unconscious when they reached the hospital. While nothing is known yet about their condition, we certainly hope that all the significantly poisoned survivors are getting hyperbaric oxygen therapy. There is no question that severely carbon monoxide poisoned survivors have much better outcomes if they received hyperbaric oxygen therapy. With so many victims, it may be difficult to get all the survivors such therapy, but even those who did not lose consciousness have a much better chance of avoiding permanent brain damage if the get hyperbaric treatment.

“We immediately knew it was some kind of toxin that was taking everybody over, we knew that if we went in there we would put ourselves in danger, but that’s our jobs, that’s what we need to do to get the people out to be able to do what we need to do and attempt to save their lives,” said Cep. Chief Lawrence Cattano, Perth Amboy Police.

Part of the problem with these battery replacement carbon monoxide detectors is that is what is called for by the Underwriters Laboratory standard, UL UL2034.

Newer CO detectors are being made with lithium batteries which are far more efficient. Lithium batteries conveniently last 10 years which means less upkeep and better chance to minimize deaths caused by carbon monoxide as well as being better for the environment seeing as less batteries will be discarded and require 23 times less nonrenewable natural resources. For the safety of those living in rented properties, landlords should be mandated by UL2034 to provide tenants with carbon monoxide detectors supported by lithium batteries. The cost is minor, they can be purchased at Home Depot for around $40 or $35 for a bundle price. The average carbon monoxide detector without a lithium battery costs around $20 plus the cost of new batteries every year. Lithium battery operated CO detectors are completely feasible and a small price to pay for someone’s life.


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