A Guide to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Guide to Carbon Monoxide Poisoning (CO Poisoning)

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Carbon Monoxide Emissions

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas that is very dangerous to human health. Even at low levels of exposure, carbon monoxide can cause serious health problems. It is produced by a number of different fuels. Be aware of some of the more common sources of carbon monoxide emissions and protect yourself and your loved ones by installing a carbon monoxide detector in your home.

Health effects
Inhaled carbon monoxide will rapidly accumulate in the blood and deplete its ability to carry oxygen throughout the body. Depending on the amount of CO inhaled, the significant harmful effects caused by this gas can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Sources of carbon monoxide emissions
Sources of carbon monoxide are numerous and prevalent in everyday life. In its natural state, CO will usually dissipate quickly over a large area without posing any significant threat to human health. However, non-natural carbon monoxide emissions produced as a result of incomplete burning of carbon-containing fuels, including coal, wood, charcoal, natural gas, and fuel oil, are harmful to the body. The three main areas of carbon monoxide emissions are residential, industrial, and in the field of transportation.

Carbon Monoxide EmissionsResidential sources

  • Furnaces, woodstoves, gas stoves, fireplaces
  • Waste burning
  • Water heaters
  • Automobile exhaust from attached garages
  • Tobacco smoke

Industrial sources

  • Industrial plant exhaust, especially steel plants, foundries, oil refineries, and chemical manufacturers

Transport sources

  • Vehicle exhaust, especially in large parking lots, traffic jams, and crowded city streets, where large numbers of slow-moving vehicles accumulate

To eliminate the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning it is important to recognize its signs and sources, and most important, install at least one carbon monoxide detector in your home as a safety precaution. Some municipalities require these detectors in residential homes. Whether or not you have a fireplace, furnace or gas stove, a CO detector will allow you to rest assured that your family is safe from the harmful effects of carbon monoxide emissions. If you have any doubts or questions, contact your local authorities. They will be happy to help you protect your home.



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