Documented Dangers of Gas Chambers and Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Documented Dangers of Gas Chambers and Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

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Documented Dangers of Gas Chambers and Carbon Monoxide Poisoning by Michele King Four state and local agencies of North Carolina government have documented hazards of faulty gas chambers and supply cylinders at public animal shelters since 2004. Leaks and malfunctions have been recorded by the North Carolina Department of Labor, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, North Carolina Department of Agriculture, and local fire marshals in Reidsville and Stokes County. The findings of these agencies were obtained through public record requests. Most gas chambers in the state had reportedly never been formally inspected prior to 2004. Since that time, complaints from thousands of residents to government officials and the media have brought the controversial euthanasia method to the forefront. One of the most compelling documents is a North Carolina Department of Labor inspection for Sampson County Animal Control in 2004 (1). The inspector's worksheet reads, "The animal begins to struggle because it cannot breathe. ..They wait approximately 10 minutes until the animal stops making sounds and then turn on a fan that is supposed to evacuate the CO from the chamber." Gas monitor readings showed employee overexposure to carbon monoxide, which the officer believed "is occurring when the chamber door is opened to remove the animal." No respiratory protection was provided for employees. Reidsville Fire Marshal John Harris inspected a gas chamber at Rockingham County Animal Control in 2004, on the property of Reidsville Veterinary Hospital, after repeated attempts to repair gas leaks (2). An inspection from August 2004 recounts: "Harris checked the chamber finding that the door seals to the chamber were in disrepair and damaged in several locations. Harris also observed where attempts to repair the seals were made with what appeared to be caulking. Also noted that the integral safety systems for monitoring carbon monoxide levels has been DISABLED. Vent pipe from the top portion of the chamber is poorly fitted and sealed with what appears to be adhesive tape. During operation of the euthanasia chamber carbon monoxide monitors were used to test levels present adjacent to the chamber. ...carbon monoxide levels exceeded 984 ppm in the area of the chamber. ...After the purge cycle during removal of animals a reading of 460 ppm still remaining in the chamber as officers removed dead animals."
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Not only can gas chambers leak and malfunction, but gas cylinders provided by carbon monoxide suppliers have also been documented as a potential hazard. North Carolina Department of Labor inspections revealed faulty gas cylinders at Columbus County Animal Control (3) and Davidson County Animal Control in 2006 (4). The Davidson County inspection notes that National Welders Supply does not formally test the cylinders for leaks. The Columbus County inspection says,
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This note was uploaded on 12/31/2009 for the course PSY Psy200 taught by Professor Martin during the Spring '09 term at N.C. State.

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Documented Dangers of Gas Chambers and Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

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