Shocking gas poisoning figures for Sunderland, Durham and Washington

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One-and-a-half million people in the North East risk carbon monoxide poisoning because they are not protected by an alarm, it has been claimed.

New research released today by the Carbon Monoxide – Be Alarmed campaign showed that only 38 per cent of people in the region have one.

The study has also found that four in five were unaware that carbon monoxide can kill and only 13 per cent realised it can cause brain damage.

Across the UK, at least 50 people died last year after being poisoned by carbon monoxide and 4,000 were treated in hospital.

Many victims go unrecognised because the early symptoms can easily be mistaken for tiredness, flu, food poisoning or even a hangover.

The campaign is calling for people in the North East to protect themselves with an alarm, and for politicians to take action.

Spokeswoman Christine McGourty said: “We are urging people to go out and buy an alarm now, but there are also two simple steps we’d like the Government to take.

“Firstly, building regulations should be amended so that new homes come with alarms already installed.

“Secondly, providing an alarm should be part of a landlord’s annual gas safety inspection.”