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Know the facts about carbon monoxide and its dangers

You can't smell it, see it or taste it, but it could be with you right now!

Carbon monoxide is one of the most toxic substances in your daily environment; in your home, garage, car, boat, and at work.

Carbon monoxide is produced by the incomplete combustion of the fossil fuels - gas, oil coal and wood used tin boilers, engines, oil burners, gas fires, water heaters, solid fuel appliances and open fires.

Dangerous amounts of carbon monoxide can accumulate when -- as a result of poor installation, poor maintenance or failure or damage to an appliance in service -- the fuel is not burned properly, or when rooms are poorly ventilated and the carbon monoxide is unable to escape.

Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless gas that can be fatal when inhaled.

Effects of inhalation can range from fatigue, dizziness, headache, and nausea at lower concentrations; higher concentrations can be fatal. Use the following precautions to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide can leak from faulty burning appliances. Make certain that all fuel burning appliances are installed correctly and are operating properly. Carbon monoxide also may be emitted from a gas stove during use. Use an exhaust fan vented to the outside while cooking with gas.

Don't use unvented combustion heaters inside any enclosed spaces; this includes inside of buildings and garages.

Do not burn coal inside of any enclosed space such as the home, fireplace, tent, vehicle or garage.

Maintain your home's heating and air conditioning system by having the ductwork, chimney and flue checked to ensure proper operation. Open the flue when the fireplace is being used.

Install a carbon monoxide detector in your home, preferably placed near bedrooms. Detectors alert by sounding an alarm before dangerous levels of carbon monoxide are reached. The price for a carbon monoxide detector can begin at approximately $20 and upwards.

Carbon monoxide can also enter a home from a car that is allowed to idle in an attached garage, even when the door is open. To prevent this, do not allow cars to idle in the garage. Instead, move the car to an open location.

Also, do not allow the tailgate or rear window of a car to remain open while operating. Carbon monoxide may be pulled inside of the vehicle from the exhaust pipe.

If any of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are experienced, turn off appliances and open doors and windows. Go outside to fresh air. Contact a professional to have the carbon monoxide problem remedied.

If the exposure is severe, call 911 or contact the Nationwide Poison Control Hotline at 1-800-222-1222.



Web posted on Thursday, December 30, 2004











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