Carbon Monoxide Levels - How Much is too Much?
What is carbon monoxide?
Carbon monoxide or CO is a colorless, odorless
and tasteless gas. Due to this fact, it is very
hard to detect the presence of CO in your environment.
It is, however, imperative that the CO levels
in your home are carefully monitored. Even at
relatively low levels, CO is poisonous because
it rapidly accumulates in the blood thereby
depleting its ability to carry oxygen. Extreme
cases of CO poisoning result in death.
does carbon monoxide come from?
CO is a common byproduct of the combustion of fossil fuels. When properly
installed and maintained, most fuel burning equipment (natural gas, propane
or oil) will produce insignificant amounts of CO.
At what level does carbon monoxide become toxic?
For healthy adults CO becomes toxic when it reaches a level higher than
35 ppm (parts per million) with continuous exposure over an eight hour
period.. When the level of CO becomes higher than that a person will suffer
from symptoms of exposure. Mild exposure over 2-3 hours (a CO level between
35 ppm and 200 ppm) will produce flu-like symptoms such as headaches,
sore eyes and a runny nose. Medium exposure (a CO level between 200 ppm
to 800 ppm) will produce dizziness, drowsiness and vomiting in as little
as 1 hour. This level of exposure is deemed to be life threatening once
three hours has passed. Extreme exposure (a CO level of 800 ppm and higher)
will result in unconsciousness, brain damage and death in as little as
a few minutes. OSHA guidelines state that the maximum exposure over an
eight hour time period is 35 ppm.
How to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning
- have a qualified technician install and regularly
inspect all fuel burning appliances
- regularly inspect fireplaces and chimneys
to insure proper ventilation
- never use a gas or charcoal barbeque indoors
- never start a car or gas run lawnmower or
snow blower in a closed garage.
- install a carbon monoxide detector in your
About the Author: Alexandria Haber is
a freelance writer and is the head researcher
and content manager for http://www.carbon-monoxide-poisoning.com/.