Bravo to health official who took bold step
By Steve Yozwiak, Metro team leader,, (602) 444-8810
The Arizona Republic
November 30, 2000

As much as we love to ride them, government agencies do provide some remarkable services.

In our watchdog efforts, we often focus on the mistakes that are made. But good people are doing good work every day.

We often just don't know about it.

Such is the case with the story of 111 carbon monoxide poisonings, including nine deaths, over the last decade at Lake Powell, a story broken on the front page of The Republic on Wednesday by reporters Maureen West and Judd Slivka.

As it turns out, officials in several state and federal government agencies discovered in recent months that a potentially dangerous design flaw may exist within the electrical-generating exhaust systems on some boats.

The problem is especially acute among privately owned houseboats in which the exhaust is vented under swimming platforms at the rear of the boat, where unsuspecting boaters and swimmers can be overcome by fumes.

That information was collected and confirmed by several agencies - the National Park Service, the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

But it was Catherine Eden, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, who took the bold step of pulling the information together and urging that it be made public.

On Wednesday, her agency, in conjunction with the Arizona Game and Fish Department, initiated a new public-education push to make the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning Arizona's top priority in boating safety.

We were more than happy to bring that information to you first.


    Copyright 2000, The Arizona Republic. All rights reserved. This article graciously provided courtesy of The Arizona Republic.