Southern California

Family Says Stove is Making Them Sick

A family in Yucaipa says their Frigidaire/Electrolux stove is putting out an unhealthy level of carbon monoxide and the city's fire department and Southern California Gas Company agree.

Carbon monoxide is a deadly toxin. All gas stoves produce it.

But medical standards and industry standards conflict with each other over what's considered an unsafe level for emissions of the toxin from an appliance.

The day before Thanksgiving, Shana Turley was pregnant with daughter Gwen, watching her toddler walker and cooking up a feast.

"I started getting a headache and I just assumed it was pregnancy hormones," she said.

Thankfully the alarms started going off. Headaches can be an early symptom of CO exposure and Turley says monitors in her hallway and bedrooms all went off, she called the fire department.

They came in and confirmed that it was carbon monoxide, the Gas Company then had to come confirm that it was the stove.

SoCal Gas says it found the stove emitting CO at unsafe levels.

The utility red tagged the stove dangerous and told her not to use it.

"We're spending a ton of money getting to-go-food all the time," she said.

Turley says Frigidaire/Electrolux sent repairmen several times but the problem was never fixed and the stove never replaced under its warranty.

"Each time the technician would call Frigidaire and say it's not working there's nothing we can do nothing we can fix."

CO emissions are measured in parts per million, representing a percentage of the oxygen we breathe.

SoCal Gas checked the stove on three separate dates with three different technicians, all noting CO emissions detected at unsafe levels of 100 parts per million.

The utility's limit for emissions is 25 parts per million, Yucaipa's fire department standard for danger to life and health is 9 parts per million.

Frigidaire/Electrolux uses an appliance industry safety standard that allows for emissions up to 800 parts per million in an air-free lab test environment.

Those tests don't take into consideration the household ambient air that we breathe so if a gas stove top is suspected to be leaking, which is what SoCal Gas noted, higher emissions of CO could fill a home quickly, endangering health.

"You need to depend on and trust your public safety people, your fire people and your gas company people," said Dr. Mark Morroco, a professor of emergency medicine at UCLA. "They know their business."

Nationwide, emergency rooms treat 50,000 cases a year of CO poisoning, many caused by gas-burning appliances, he said.

The toxin is blamed for 1,200 deaths annually.

He says if safety professionals tell you to shut off an appliance, do it.

"You need to listen to them and the manufacturer."

That's what we thought was happening after contacting the company for Turley.

"Right away they wanted to do a goodwill gesture to us and offer us a stove top," she said.

In a statement to the I-Team, the company says:

"The test results show that the emissions on her cooktop are well within all standards and requirements. As a goodwill gesture we are happy to provide a similar electric cooktop."

The goodwill came with a catch, a non-disclosure agreement the company says is standard, preventing Turley from saying or writing anything disparaging about the company or … "If this release is breached Electrolux shall be entitled to all remedies allowed at law."

Turley passed on the offer to sound her own alarm about the stove she says jeopardized her family's health.

"I'd rather pay out of pocket to go ahead and buy a new stovetop and be able to do this story and let other people know what's going on, than take their offer."

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