FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 8, 2005
CONTACT: Lindsay Hodges (850) 245-4111
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is Carbon Monoxide?
A. Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless, tasteless
gas that interferes with the delivery of oxygen in the blood
to the rest of the body and is highly poisonous.
Q. What Are the Major Sources of CO?
A. Carbon monoxide is produced as a result of incomplete
burning of fuels including coal, wood, charcoal, natural
gas, gasoline, diesel, kerosene, and heating oil. It can be
produced by portable generators, small gasoline engines,
charcoal grills, gas stoves, automobile exhaust from
attached garages, and smoking tobacco. Problems can arise as
a result of improper placement, installation, operation,
maintenance of CO generating devices or appliances.
Improperly designed or malfunctioning exhaust systems for
permanently installed home combustion appliances may also
contribute to elevated CO levels. Portable generators and
charcoal grills are major sources of CO and should never be
operated inside enclosed or partially enclosed building or
near doors, windows and openings to the house.
Q. What Are the Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
A. Depending on the level of exposure, CO may cause fatigue,
weakness, chest pains for those with heart disease,
shortness of breath upon exertion, nausea, vomiting,
headaches, confusion, lack of coordination, impaired vision,
loss of consciousness, and in severe cases, death.
Q. What Should You Do If You Think You Have CO Poisoning?
A. If you think you are suffering from carbon monoxide (CO)
poisoning, you should get fresh air immediately. Turn off
all combustion appliances and leave the house. Go to an
emergency room. Be sure to tell the physician that you
suspect CO poisoning. Don’t ignore symptoms, especially if
more than one person is feeling them. In cases of severe CO
poisoning, call 911 emergency services or the Poison
Information Center at 1-800-222-1222.
Q. What Can Be Done to Prevent CO Poisoning?
A. To prevent CO poisoning, ensure that all household
combustion appliances (fireplaces, stoves, water heaters,
furnaces) are properly adjusted and working to
manufacturers’ instructions and local building codes and
make sure stoves and heaters are exhaust vented to the
outside and that exhaust systems do not leak.
Do not use ovens and gas ranges to heat your home. Do not
burn charcoal inside a home, cabin, recreational vehicle, or
camper, and you never leave a car or lawn mower engine
running in a shed or garage, or in any enclosed or partially
enclose space. NEVER use gas-powered generators or pressure
washers inside any building or structure. Ventilating a
building or structure will not prevent the buildup of life
threatening levels of CO. Do not locate portable generators
or portable gasoline engines near any opening of the house
(windows, doors, window air conditioners, exhaust vents.)
Q. What About Carbon Monoxide Alarms?
A. Consider installing CO alarms in your home. The US
Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends the
installation of CO alarms in every home. Install battery
operated CO alarms or plug-in CO alarms with battery backup
according to manufacturer’s installation instructions. The
CO alarm should be certified to the requirements of the
latest safety standards for CO alarms (UL 2034, IAS 6-96,
REMEMBER: Carbon monoxide (CO) alarms can be used as a
backup but not as a replacement for proper use, placement
and maintenance of your fuel-burning appliances or gas
powered portable equipment. Also, understand that CO alarms
are designed to sound an alert at fairly high levels. Lower
level CO exposure below the alarm threshold could still
contribute to adverse health effects in susceptible
individuals (persons with heart or lung disease for
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