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Airbnb CEO talks difficulties of implementing carbon monoxide initiative in interview with NBC. How many people die needlessly from carbon monoxide poisoning?

Nearly a decade after promising all properties listed on its platform would have detectors to safeguard guests from carbon monoxide poisoning, Airbnb’s CEO, Brian Chesky, called the task “very hard.” 


The comment was made in a recent interview Chesky had with NBC discussing difficulties that the company has faced. 


“It’s really hard to mandate things in 220 countries and regions and cities all over the world,” Chesky said in the interview. “And then if you mandate something, you have to have a mechanism to verify that it happens.”


The carbon monoxide discussion revolved around a decade-old promise that emerged after the deaths of several guests from carbon monoxide poisoning at Airbnb properties. The company avowed that there would be a carbon monoxide detector at every property by the end of 2014. But, according to reporting from NBC, that hasn’t happened yet. Of the company’s 7 million listings, only 2.3% of hosts have participated in the program to have carbon monoxide detectors on their property. The company allegedly provides free detectors to hosts when requested.


Approximately 19 people have been reported as dying from carbon monoxide poisoning on Airbnb properties outside the U.S. in the last decade. The first, NBC reported, was a Canadian man who died while staying at an Airbnb in Taiwan. The deaths have sparked a slew of lawsuits, at least three of which are still pending. In the United States, almost 60% of Airbnb properties were reported as being equipped with a carbon monoxide detector. 


Numbers from the Center for Disease Control show that over 400 people die annually involving carbon monoxide poisoning. In 2022, the death toll had reached 1,244. About 624 of the deaths for that year were accidental while 511 of those deaths involved carbon monoxide but the gas was not listed as the official cause of death. 


When asked if Airbnb would continue trying to implement the company-wide edict, Chesky said he did not know but that they are trying to “move to get the entire platform on to making sure it’s safe, it’s verified.”

Data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission states that 200 lives a year are saved by the use of carbon monoxide detectors in the United States.

Data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission states that 200 lives a year are saved by the use of carbon monoxide detectors in the United States.


Leesfield & Partners 


Since its start in 1976, Leesfield & Partners has handled dozens of cases on behalf of families who have been injured or who have lost loved ones to the recklessness of corporations and small businesses alike. 


One such case involved that of an Iowa family staying at a Key West hotel. In that instance, the hotel where the family was staying failed to bring in a licensed technician to inspect and or properly repair its boiler room roof vent, which had been damaged during Hurricane Wilma in 2005. Luckily, the family was able to call for emergency services before losing consciousness as a result of breathing in the gas. The case garnered national attention when, six days after the incident with the family, a man and his father also passed out in the same room from carbon monoxide poisoning. 


Leesfield & Partners attorneys were able to prove that, because of the damage and the hotel’s failure to address it, carbon monoxide was being funneled back into the boiler room and to nearby rooms occupied by guests. In that case, Leesfield & Partners was able to secure a $1,400.000 settlement for the family. 


Senate Bill 1822, advocated in part by Leesfield & Partners attorneys, was passed in 2007 after several deaths in the state, including that of two Florida International University students, Janelle Bertot and Tony Perez, who died in 2004 from carbon monoxide poisoning inside a van with a broken exhaust system. The law outlines regulations for carbon monoxide and smoke detectors pertaining to public lodgings.


Another case handled by the law firm includes that of a couple exposed to the odorless gas while on vacation overseas. Attorneys were able to secure an eight-figure settlement for the couple in just nine months, putting Leesfield & Partners among one of the leading carbon monoxide law firms in the United States. 


Ways to stay safe at home 

  • Install a carbon monoxide detector on every floor of your home. 
  • Appliances such as dryers, water heaters, and gas stoves should be inspected by a professional annually. 
    • Some of the things to check for include: ensuring the appliances are properly vented and are free from rust or corrosion. 
  • In South Florida, where hurricanes have been known to leave entire blocks without power for weeks on end, homeowners should make sure not to use their portable generators in enclosed spaces like a garage. All portable generators should be used in well-ventilated areas and be kept away from doors, windows and vents. 
  • Keep air ducts and ventilators clean and unobstructed to maintain proper ventilation.
Approximately 400 Americans die annually from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the CDC.

Approximately 400 Americans die annually from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the CDC.

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