Carbon Monoxide Safety

Carbon Monoxide (CO), also refered to as Carbonous Oxide, is a colorless and odorless poisonous gas. Carbon Monoxide is also impossible to see, taste or smell, making it even more dangerous, and sometimes, lethal. As a result of this, it has earned the title, "The Silent Killer". Each year, this "silent killer" is responsible for approximately 400 lives and sends an additional 20,000 people to emergency rooms for urgent care in the United States alone. This is an astronomical figure for this day and age, where resources are readily available to increase awareness, detection and prevention.

Although the effects of Carbon Monoxide exposure may vary depending on age, physical constitution and overall health, etc. It is the contact with higher concentration and the length of time exposed to this poisonous gas that is most toxic and thus, most dangerous. At low levels of exposure, Carbon Monoxide may cause flu-like symptoms including dizziness, headaches, fatigue, nausea and disorientation. At higher levels, it is fatal. Generally speaking, Carbon Monoxide is produced when Carbon burns with incomplete oxidation, when any material burns with an insufficient presence of oxygen. It may come into the home by way of wood stoves, fireplaces, gas stoves, gasoline powered equipment, generators, boilers, furnaces, car exhaust etc. However, there are many steps one can take to increase awareness and reduce exposure to this poisonous gas, such as scheduling a trained-professional inspector, using proper fuel, installing vents or replacing old ones, keeping gas appliances working properly, remembering to open flues when using fireplaces, etc..

In conclusion, Carbon Monoxide is an invisible, colorless and odorless, poisonous, and extremely dangerous toxic gas. It affects humans and animals alike, with variations or different levels of poisoning, depending on age and overall health, but most importantly, the concentration or quantity levels and duration of exposure of this toxic and extremely dangerous gas.  It single-handedly kills 400 people in the Unites States alone every year, and hospitalizes an additional 20,000 victims. However there are many readily available resources to help increase awareness of this poison, detection and prevention. We have to educate people on how to minimize exposure and combat this "Silent Killer". 

Here are some helpful resources that will do just that:

EPA - United States Environmental Protection Agency Introduction to Indoor Air Quality

EPA - United States Environmental Protection Agency Protect Your Family and Yourself from Carbon Monoxide

CPSC - US Consumer Product Safety Commission carbon Monoxide Questions and Answers

Carbon Monoxide Kills - Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Advice

CDC - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

NIL - National Institute of Health: MedlinePlus Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

COH - Carbon Monoxide Headquarters Resources

USFA - U.S. Fire Administration on Carbon Monoxide

CMP - A Guide to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

USCGBoating - U.S. Coast Guard Boating Safety Resource Center on Carbon Monoxide

LNI - Washington State Department of Labor and Industries Carbon Monoxide

Emedicinehealth - Experts for Everyday Emergencies on Carbon Monoxide

MDH - Minnesota Department of Health: Carbon Monoxide Poisoning In Your Home

IDPH - Illinois Department Of Public Health

NYSDH - New York State Department of Health

SAH - Safety At Home: Test your Carbon Monoxide IQ and Protect Your Loved Ones

CSIA - Chimney Safety Institute of America

NFPA - National Fire Protection Association

NASA - NASA Earth Observatory

NYC - New York City Office of Emergency Management

WebMD - Better information Better health