Consumer Reports: Carbon monoxide alarm safety risk

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The recent death of a 13-year-old boy in Michigan serves as a tragic reminder of the importance of carbon monoxide alarms. (WPVI)

The recent death of a 13-year-old boy in Michigan serves as a tragic reminder of the importance of carbon monoxide alarms.

Bryan Douglas Watts died from the deadly levels of carbon monoxide coming from a broken pool heater. But Consumer Reports has a warning about some alarm models.

Carbon monoxide alarms are a critical safety device for any home, but beware.

Consumer reports says a few carbon monoxide alarms could actually put your family at risk, so if these are in your home, replace them immediately.

In Consumer Reports' most recent tests of carbon monoxide alarms, three similar-looking off-brand alarms, the Foho YJ-806, the GoChange 882 LCD and the NetBoat WB_H3110061, which are sold on Amazon and eBay, failed critical performance tests and have been labeled Don't Buy: Safety Risk.

The alarms are designed to sound before the level of carbon monoxide in a person's bloodstream would reach a dangerous level.

"We test each carbon monoxide alarm at two CO levels. First we test at 100 parts per million, where the alarm should sound after about 40 minutes. Then we test at 400 parts per million, when the alarm should sound between 4 and 15 minutes," said Bernie Deitrick, Consumer Reports Engineer.

All three alarms failed some aspect of Consumer Reports testing, either for going off too quickly, or not at all.

Also important, the three failed alarms do not have a UL certification, a mark given to all CO alarms that meet a voluntary industry safety standard.

If you already own one of the Foho, GoChange, or NetBoat carbon monoxide alarms, stop using them, and replace them with one of CR's recommended CO alarms that do meet the UL certifications.

They include the top-rated First Alert CO615, a standalone alarm, or the First Alert OneLink SCO501CN, an interconnected alarm that syncs with multiple alarms in your home.

After being contacted by Consumer Reports, Amazon said the two products that failed the tests were no longer available for sale, and it's removed similar-looking models CR pointed out that did not list a UL certification.

eBay tells Consumer Reports it's removed the specific carbon monoxide alarm listing from the seller and requested the seller contact any buyers who may have purchased the alarms.

Consumer Reports is unaware of any injuries related to these products.

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