It has been reported recently that in laboratory conditions carbon monoxide (CO) diffuses through gypsum board at a surprisingly high rate (Hampson, et al., JAMA 2013). Because CO is poisonous and a by-product of systems typically present in residential housing like boilers, generators, furnaces and automobile engines, this finding could have a significant impact on the life safety standards published by National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and International Code Council (ICC), such as NFPA 101 Live Safety Code. For example, in USA, state legislation mandates the requirements for CO detection and warning equipment to be installed, but currently only enforces CO detection if there are communicating openings between the garage and occupied areas of a building.
|Comparison between the experimental results for 0.5" gypsum wallboard|
Our analysis and review independently confirms that CO can diffuse through porous walls at a fast rate and that the phenomena may merit consideration in life safety standards.