In one of the largest cases of carbon monoxide poisoning that we recall, 42 students at the Merchant Marine Academy on Long Island, N.Y., this weekend were hospitalized following a leak of the lethal gas, according to The Los Angeles Times.

A spokewoman for North Shore University Hospital told The Times that eight of the students, called midshipmen, were treated at her facility after being brought there at 11 p.m. Sunday. They were released about four hours later. The rest of the students, who are being trained to be officers in the merchant marine, were taken to other medical facilities for treatment.

Authorities suspect that a faulty water heater was responsible for the carbon monoxide leak, The Times reported.

Recently there was a recall of Navien water heaters, because of a faulty hose connection that could lead to a carbon monoxide leak. But there was no mention of what type of water heater the academy had. 

The academy is located in Kings Point, some 20 miles from New York City.

The Times quoted several statistics about carbon monoxide poisoning from the Centers for Disease Control in its story. Carbon monoxide accounts for more than 20,000 emergency visits each year. In additon, 4,000 are hospitalized and 400 die from exposure to the colorless, odorless gas. 


Earlier this week the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced the voluntary recall of 13,000 tankless waters heaters. These heaters pose a threat of leaking carbon monoxide, a lethal colorless, odorless gas.

But we have to wonder, how many people are aware of this recall? And how many people could be victims of  carbon monoxide poisoning from these Korean-made heaters, which were distributed by Navien America Inc. of Irvine, Calif.

The Navien water heaters pose a hazard because “an unstable connection can cause the water heater’s vent collar to separate or detach if pressure is applied,” according to the CPCS’s press release.  “A detached vent collar poses a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning to the consumer,” the CPCS said.

Although there have been no reports in injuries yet, these heaters pose a serious danger. 

Today we Googled “Navien heater recall” to see how much press coverage the recall got. Although almost 200 stories came up in that search. That may sound like a lot, but most of them buried the heater recall as part of roundups of many other product recalls.

It’s too bad the CPCS doesn’t have a more comprehensive method of distributing news about its recalls, especially one involving such a potentially dangerous product, the Navien heaters. 

Let’s hope word does spread and these 13,000 heaters are found and returned.