Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning
Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning: Could Your Family be at Risk?
Are you aware of the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning? Each year many people die from carbon monoxide poisoning (National Center for Health Statistics) which may easily have been prevented.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a gas that is odorless, colorless and poisonous. It is produced by the incomplete burning of solid liquid or gaseous fuel. This includes wood or charcoal, gas, oil or kerosene.
Even at lower levels, CO can cause symptoms such as nausea, fatigue, weakness, headaches, dizziness, unconsciousness, or death. Unfortunately, because the symptoms often mimic other ailments such as the flu, it can be difficult to properly diagnose CO poisoning.
By following a few simple guidelines you can reduce the risk of dangerous levels of CO building up in your home. See the checklist for ideas about how to keep your family safe and healthy. For more information about carbon monoxide poisoning and how to prevent it from happening to your family, contact your regional EPA Office.
- Install a carbon monoxide detector A good one will sound an alarm if levels get too high. Be sure to get one that meets the requirements of Underwriters Laboratories (UL) standards.
- Use all charcoal-burning equipment out doors only. This will prevent CO from building up in your home.
- Start lawnmowers outside of the garage area.
- Turn cars off immediately upon parking inside a garage.
- Have your chimney cleaned periodically.
- Once a year have a qualified technician check all central and room heating
appliances. Gas water heaters and dryers should also be checked.
- Never use a gas range or oven as a heating device for the home.
- Keep the area around a gas or kerosene space heater well ventilated.
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