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Racial and ethnic trends in unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning deaths

Objective: Government programs have attempted to impact a recognized elevated risk for carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning among minority racial and ethnic groups. This study sought to describe U.S. mortality due to unintentional, non-fire-related CO poisoning, examining the distribution and trends by race and ethnicity.

Methods: CDC Wonder was used to extract and analyze data on all U.S. resident deaths from unintentional CO poisoning from 2000-2017, categorizing them by year, race, ethnic origin and gender.

Results: The absolute number of unintentional CO deaths decreased from about 450 to 380 per year during the period studied, a number near totally accounted for by the decrease in deaths occurring among non-Hispanic/ Latino whites. The number of deaths among the remainder of the population did not significantly change. However, greater growth in minority populations resulted in a similar decline in the mortality rate between non-Hispanic/ Latino whites and the combined minority population. The decline in combined minority death rate resulted from a decrease in the Hispanic/Latino white rate. Death rate did not decline in the black or African American population.

Conclusions: All minority groups continue to display a disproportionate number of unintentional non-fire-related CO poisoning deaths compared to non-Hispanic/Latino whites. The decrease in U.S. deaths from unintentional non-fire-related carbon monoxide poisoning from 2000- 2017 is accounted for by a decrease in non-Hispanic/Latino white deaths. While numbers of such deaths among minority groups have not changed since 2000, increases in the size of minority populations have resulted in a declining crude death rate for Hispanic/Latino whites.