CARBON MONOXIDE IS A VERY SERIOUS ISSUE FOR YOUR HEALTH.
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What is carbon monoxide?
The physical properties of carbon monoxide are:
it is a colorless, odorless, neutral, gaseous oxide, which is highly poisonous. It i sparingly soluble in water but is soluble in ethanol and in benzene.
it has a relative density that is similar to air. The chemical properties of carbon monoxide are that it is:
A flammable and highly toxic gas.
A neutral oxide which burns in air to give carbon dioxide.
An important industrial gas widely used as a fuel
Causes of poisoning:
Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that has no smell or taste. Breathing it in can make you unwell, and it can kill if you're exposed to high levels.
Carbon monoxide is produced when fuels are burned incompletely. This includes Tobacco smoking, idling petrol, diesel powered engines, oil, wood, coal, paper, charcoal, kerosene, propane, butane. Even burning your toast or chops!
All these fuels are found in the domestic/recreational and working environment. The risk of poisoning from properly installed, ventilated and regularly maintained appliances is extremely low.
Every year in the UK, more than 200 people go to the hospital with suspected carbon monoxide poisoning, which leads to around 50 deaths.
However, we spend approximately 80% of our time in enclosed spaces like the home, vehicle, caravan, holiday accommodation, office, workshop, boat even a tent, it follows that having improperly installed, maintained, or the incorrect operation or use of appliances which can create unsafe levels of CO could dramatically increase our risk of exposure.
Normally when you breathe, oxygen is absorbed from the lungs into the blood where it combines with hemoglobin to form oxyhemoglobin, which is then transported to organs, tissue and muscle. In the muscle, oxygen is transferred to myoglobin to create oxymyoglobin.
However, when you inhale carbon monoxide replaces the oxygen and forms a substance called carboxyhemoglobin.
Poisoning occurs by:
Hemoglobin has a much greater affinity for carbon monoxide than oxygen, a ratio of about 240:1 and 25:1 for myoglobin, thus a relatively low carbon monoxide concentration can replace a large number of oxygen molecules for our bodies use.
Oxygen that is absorbed cannot be released from the blood to the organs and tissues because carbon monoxide also increases the affinity of hemoglobin for oxygen.
Fetal hemoglobin has a higher affinity for CO than the mother. The effects of carbon monoxide inhalation depend on the length of exposure:
The signs and symptoms of acute exposure may include a headache, flushing, nausea, vertigo, weakness, irritability, unconsciousness, and in persons with pre-existing heart disease and atherosclerosis, chest pain and leg pain.
Chronic exposure Is more difficult to diagnose than acute because the symptoms are more subtle, the carboxyhemoglobin levels may be only slightly elevated. It results from exposure to lower concentrations over an extended period anywhere from one week to months, maybe years. It can lead to long-term and permanent health problems with debilitating effects for the sufferer.
Symptoms - The following symptoms could indicate carbon monoxide poisoning
Severe Muscle Pains
Fast Heart Rate
Loss of Hearing
These measures can help to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning:
All fuel burning appliances and associated flues/chimneys are installed by the appropriate, registered trades people.
the above are maintained and serviced in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions
no-one modifies or tampers with any appliance, flue or chimney
your chimney is swept and inspected regularly
ventilation openings are not blocked and are free from vegetations
fit an audible CO alarm, certified to EN 50291
We can also supply carbon monoxide alarms if required, please feel free to ask,