Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas that has no odor, taste or color. It poisons the body by removing oxygen in the blood stream, slowly suffocating you.
It is produced by the incomplete burning of various fuels, including coal, wood, charcoal, oil, kerosene, propane, and natural gas. In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel are potential sources of carbon monoxide. Vehicles or generators running in an attached garage can also produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.
Initial symptoms of low to moderate CO poisoning include:
- Shortness of breath
Exposure to high levels of CO can result in:
- Mental confusion
- Loss of muscular coordination
- Loss of consciousness
- Ultimately death
On average, more than 150 people in the Unites States die every year from CO poisoning associated with non-automotive consumer products.
To prevent CO poisoning,
- Have your home heating systems inspected and serviced annually by a trained service technician.
- Never operate fuel-powered equipment in enclosed spaces.
- Open your fireplace damper before lighting a fire and keep it open until the ashes are cool
- Install a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector outside sleeping areas and replace it every 5-7 years.
For more information, please visit the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website.
Source: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission