The Dangers of Carbon Monoxide

There are many dangers associated with carbon monoxide, some of which are short term problems and some of which can be permanently damaging or even fatal.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can come about through a number of sources, and these can be everyday items and appliances sued within the home or at work.

Once carbon monoxide has been breathed in, it replaces the oxygen in the blood, thus killing off cells and starving vital organs of oxygen.

One of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning is death. A large enough dose of this odourless, colourless and tasteless gas can kill within minutes.

Carbon Monoxide Levels

Like many other chemicals, the level of carbon monoxide in the air is a determining factor for the effect that the exposure will have on an individual. Carbon monoxide levels are measured in parts per million (pm). Listed below are some general estimates of carbon monoxide exposure and the timeframe of their consequences:

  • 50ppm – Although this amount may seem minimal, exposure may cause respiratory difficulties and increases the risk for heart attack.
  • 200ppm – Exposure at this level for 2 to 3 hours will cause minor headaches, fatigue, nausea, and dizziness.
  • 400ppm – Exposure at this level for 1 to 2 hours will cause headache located in front; exposure for 3 to 5 hours may cause unconsciousness and death.
  • 800ppm – Exposure at this level for 45 minutes causes nausea, convulsions, and dizziness. Death may result after being exposed at this level for 2 to 3 hours.
  • 1600ppm – Exposure at this level for 20 minutes may cause nausea, headache and dizziness. Exposure for one hour may result in death.
  • 3200ppm – Exposure at this level for 10 minutes may cause nausea, headache and dizziness. Exposure for one hour may result in death.
  • 6400ppm – Exposure at this level for 2 minutes may cause nausea, headache and dizziness. Exposure for 30 minutes may result in death.
  • 12800ppm – Death within minutes.

Carbon monoxide is a very dangerous chemical that kills hundreds of people every year throughout the United States.

In fact, people die every year from carbon monoxide poisoning without ever knowing what hit them. They simply slip in to unconsciousness and never come around, or they may already be asleep when they breathe in the carbon monoxide and simply never wake up again.

Smaller doses of carbon monoxide poisoning can cause a range of symptoms and problems, and depending on how often the CO is breathed in and at what levels, can cause both short term and long term damage. Once of the dangers associated with the short term symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning is the non-specific nature of the symptoms, which can often resemble flu.

This means that the sufferer can often go on breathing in carbon monoxide, which can then lead to either long term or permanent damage, or death.

The long term dangers associated with carbon monoxide can be devastating and can affect the rest of your life.

Carbon monoxide can result in brain damage, heart problems, major organ dysfunction, memory or cognitive problems, behavioural and personality changes and a range of other permanent problems.

The dangers of carbon monoxide can arise both in the home and the work environment, and many people are affected by these dangers simply through lack of knowledge and vigilance. There are many ways in which you can reduce the risks of carbon monoxide exposure, but these dangers often get the better of people who have no idea what the signs are, how to aid prevention, how to treat symptoms and what the causes of the carbon monoxide pollution are.

Carbon monoxide is a silent and deadly danger, and takes thousands of lives all around the world each year. The sad thing is that many carbon monoxide related deaths could have been avoided with some basic precautions and a little vigilance.

However, the fact that this gas is practically undetectable to the general public, along with the fact that the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are so non-specific can contribute to the level of danger that this gas carries.

It is important to remember that learning more about the dangers of carbon monoxide can go some way towards helping you to avoid these dangers, or take appropriate action should you be affected by this gas.

This in turn could help to prevent serious and long term damage, and could even help to save lives.


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