As we get ready to fire up our wood/gas stoves, start looking at heating our hoardings/headache shacks its time to talk about Carbon monoxide. It is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, toxic gas that has the molecular formula CO. The molecule consists of a carbon atom that is triple bonded to an oxygen atom.
Carbon Monoxide is produced by the incomplete combustion of the fossil fuels – gas, oil, coal and wood used in heaters, boilers, engines, oil burners, gas fires, water heaters, solid fuel appliances and open fires.
Dangerous amounts of CO can accumulate when as a result of poor installation, poor maintenance, failure or damage to an appliance in service, the fuel is not burned properly, or when rooms or hoardings are poorly ventilated and the Carbon Monoxide is unable to escape.
Having no smell, taste or color, in today’s world of improved insulation and double glazing it has become increasingly important to have good ventilation, maintain all appliances regularly and to have absolutely reliable detector alarms installed giving both a visual and audible warning immediately when there is a buildup of CO, to dangerous levels.
NO SMELL and NO TASTE and NO COLOUR and it is for these reasons that CO detectors in your home and multiple gas detectors at work, are the only ways to alert you to increasingly dangerous levels of CO before tragedy strikes.
What are the effects of carbon monoxide? Carbon Monoxide produces the following physiological effects on people exposed to the concentrations shown:
Carbon Monoxide poisons by entering the lungs via the normal breathing mechanism and displacing oxygen from the bloodstream. Interruption of the normal supply of oxygen puts at risk, the functions of the heart, brain and other vital functions of the body.
The above information is for a healthy adult. Persons suffering from heart or respiratory health problems, infants and small children, unborn children, expectant mothers and pets can be affected by CO poisoning more quickly, than others in the household and may be the first to show symptoms.
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