TODAY | December 04, 2012
>> we'll begin this half hour with a rossen report safety alert tied to an atlanta school where dozens of children were rushed to the building when the building filled with dangerous levels of carbon monoxide . jeff rossen is here with more to it.
>> reporter: there is more to it. this school in atlanta did not have any carbon monoxide detector and in most states, no requirements for schools to have them at all. that means your children could be breathing this poisonous gas in their classroom every day and not even know it. the scene frightening for any parent. young children pulled from school monday and overcome by carbon monoxide .
>> i don't know what happened, and my brother's stomach was hurting and they had to take him to the hospital.
>> some kids, they felt scared. i felt scared, too. 43 students and ten adult at finch elementary in atlanta rushed to the hospital.
>> i just want to know my daughter is okay.
>> reporter: school officials think a faulty furnace caused the leak sending dangerously high levels of the gas into classrooms, and with no c.o. detectors in school no one knew until it became an emergency.
>> as we made entry and started evacuating the school we found that we are extremely, extremely high readings of carbon monoxide .
>> and it's happening across the country. just last month in philadelphia 50 students were sent to the e.r. when a backup generator at school malfunctioned sending carbon monoxide into the air.
>> in baltimore last year, two cases at two different schools in one week. 52 people sent to hospitals, and doctors say children can be hurt even at lower levels, breathing this colorless, odorless gas day after day .
>> lower level exposure, exposure too late to produce acute symptoms can still cause problems, and those problems are learning disabilities in children and possibly cardio vascular problems.
>> problem is. your children may be at risk right now. in many states homes are required to have carbon monoxide detectors , but only two states, maryland and connecticut, mandate them in schools which means in a vast majority of the country schools don't have those life-saving alarms.
>> it's common sense legislation that protects our children.
>> reporter: state legislator jeffrey berger wrote the law in connecticut. some school districts may say, look, it's too expensive and not worth the price of installing all these detectors.
>> that's just crazy to say it's too expensive. the costs are not expensive. $5,000 for a district. the device itself is $50 or less.
>> reporter: what do you say to the 48 states that don't require these detectors?
>> make it happen. they should make that happen. it's so very important to protect the lives of students and administrators.
>> reporter: sometimes it takes a scare to change. in atlanta hours after this emergency the superintendent announced they are now considering detectors in classrooms.
>> they should be required. if homes have to be required schools need to be required as well.
>> reporter: this morning we have some good news to report. most of the students and teachers in atlanta have been released from the hospital and safety experts say it should never come to this. all schools should have these detectors. in the meantime doctors say there are things that you can look for in your child today. if your child feels tired or nauseous at school and then comes home and feels better, that could be a sign of carbon monoxide exposure. by the way, we posted even more safety tips on our website right now at "today".com. check the rossen report. it's all right there