What is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide, or “CO,” is an odorless, colorless gas that can kill you.

Where is CO found?

CO is found in fumes produced any time you burn fuel in cars or trucks, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, or furnaces. CO can build up indoors and poison people and animals who breathe it.

What are the symptoms of CO poisoning?

The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. CO symptoms are often described as “flu-like.” If you breathe in a lot of CO it can make you pass out or kill you. People who are sleeping or drunk can die from CO poisoning before they have symptoms.

Who is at risk from CO poisoning?

Everyone is at risk for CO poisoning. Infants, the elderly, people with chronic heart disease, anemia, or breathing problems are more likely to get sick from CO. Each year, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional CO poisoning not linked to fires, more than 20,000 visit the emergency room, and more than 4,000 are hospitalized

The acute effects produced by carbon monoxide in relation to ambient concentration in parts per million are listed below:[14][15]

Concentrations and Symptoms

35 ppm (0.0035%) – Headache and dizziness within six to eight hours of constant exposure

100 ppm (0.01%) – Slight headache in two to three hours

200 ppm (0.02%) – Slight headache within two to three hours; loss of judgment

400 ppm (0.04%) – Frontal headache within one to two hours

800 ppm (0.08%) – Dizziness, nausea, and convulsions within 45 min; insensible within 2 hours

1,600 ppm (0.16%) – Headache, increased heart rate, dizziness, and nausea within 20 min; death in less than 2 hours

3,200 ppm (0.32%) – Headache, dizziness and nausea in five to ten minutes. Death within 30 minutes.

6,400 ppm (0.64%) – Headache and dizziness in one to two minutes. Convulsions, respiratory arrest, and death in less than 20 minutes.

12,800 ppm (1.28%) – Unconsciousness after 2–3 breaths. Death in less than three minutes.