Suvey of liquid petroleum gas users turns up some troubling facts about safety

Residents here who cook with gas probably are unaware that the tiny tank has the potential to blow up their home. Infrequently there is an explosion, and officials are anxious to put more regulations on the tanks. Some surveys have shown that many tanks are rusted and dangerous.

The Escuela de Estadística of the Universidad de Costa Rica just did a study in which surveyors visited 824 homes in the country.

The Autoridad Reguladora de Servicios Públicos embarked on a safety campaign late year after a fatal explosion in Alajuela. The agency reported that 133 users said they had problems with a tank.

The university study said that 61.7 percent of the homes visited had a problem tank within the year. They cited such problems as a tank that lacked a label or was damaged or had rust. Some 31.5 percent of the respondents said they had had a gas leak.

The university researchers extrapolated that survey  percentage to say that some 193,000 users in the country had had gas leaks. They also reported that 70 percent of the users keep a tank within the home. In support of the university study, the Autoridad said it had reports of some 175,942 gas leaks in 2013.

The gas is liquid petroleum gas. And the survey showed that about 44 percent of the Costa Rican homes use gas, mainly for cooking.  Gas Zeta and Tropigas are the major retailers. The Asamblea Legislativa is considering changes in the law with respect to gas containers, which usually are exchanged by the users.

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