Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

What is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colorless and odorless gas, which is produced by the combustion of materials that contain carbon.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning can result in brain damage and even death. As carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas we can’t see, smell, or taste it, but it can be fatal for human beings.

Causes of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide is formed when organic compounds are burned in the presence of oxygen. Exhaust gases from the motor vehicles, engine fumes, fire smoke and non-electric heaters are the most common source of carbon monoxide production. Carbon monoxide is found in any combustion fumes that are produced by the following sources:

  • Boats Engines
  • Car Engines
  • Car mufflers
  • Charcoal grills
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Degreasers
  • Fireplaces
  • Gas water heaters
  • Gasoline and diesel powered generators
  • Gasoline powered concrete saws
  • Indoor tractor pulls
  • Kerosene space heaters
  • Non-Electric heaters
  • Paint removers
  • Portable generators
  • Propane heaters and stoves
  • Propane-fueled forklifts
  • Solvents
  • Space heaters
  • Spray paint

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Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Breathing in a large amount of carbon monoxide can replace the oxygen in the blood with CO. If this happens, a person will become unconscious and can be life-threatening. The symptoms of excessive consumption of CO are as follows:

  • Headache
  • Weakness
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Death

Prevention of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

To avoid getting poisoned by carbon monoxide proper preventive measures must be taken. Some of the preventive measures are given below.

  • There must be plenty of ventilation in houses with lots of traffics or factories in the area.
  • CO Detectors must be used and placed near the source of CO.
  • Sleeping near a kerosene or a gas space heater must be prevented.
  • The symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning should never be ignored.


1. What causes carbon monoxide poisoning?
Household devices, such as gas fires, boilers, central heating systems, water heaters, cookers, and open fires that use gas, oil, coal, and wood can be possible CO gas sources. This occurs when the fire isn’t completely burning. Running a car engine in a confined space can lead to CO poisoning.

2. Does carbon monoxide make you sleepy?
Many people with moderate carbon monoxide exposure experience headaches, tiredness, and nausea. Sadly, since they are mostly flu-like, the signs are often ignored. Medium exposure can lead to headache, drowsiness, disorientation and increased heart rate.

3. Can you smell carbon monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas formed by carbon-containing burning content. You can not see it, smell it or taste it; but you can be killed by carbon monoxide. It is known as the “silent killer,” because carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless, and colorless gas.

4. What gas smells like rotten eggs?
Hydrogen Sulfide. Natural gas is a gas that is efficient, clean, colorless and odorless. We add a harmless chemicals called mercaptan to give a distinctive odor to gas for easy detection. Many people describe the smell as odour-like rotten eggs or hydrogen sulfide.

5. What is an unsafe carbon monoxide level?
The CO concentration is in parts per million (ppm) measured. Health effects from about 1 to 70 ppm of CO exposure are unclear, but most people do not feel any symptoms. As CO rates rise above 150 to 200 ppm, there is space for disorientation, unconsciousness and death.x

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