Similar to carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide is also a colourless and odourless gas. Commonly known as “The Silent Killer”, Carbon monoxide is sourced from gas stoves, furnaces, appliances, automobiles, and fireplaces. The effects of carbon monoxide vary among different people, depending on their age and health.
Exposure to low levels of CO is commonly mistaken for symptoms of the flu including headaches, dizziness, and fatigue, whilst extremely high levels of CO can result in death. Since CO is impossible for a human to detect through smell or sight of the naked eye, this toxic gas can build up unknowingly to hazardous rates. Those who suffer from heart & respiratory diseases, are pregnant, and those who are heavy smokers are most affected by the presence of carbon monoxide. While children and pets will experience symptoms earlier because their hearts are smaller and their respiratory rates are faster.
- Average levels of carbon monoxide in homes that do not use gas stoves, heating equipment, etc., can be as low as 0.5 ppm, however homes with properly maintained appliances (stoves, heating systems, etc.) can reach up to 15 ppm.
- There are many potential sources of carbon dioxide in a home that cannot be detected at a glance. Example: inside vents, chimneys and leaking from appliances.
- See next section for acceptable/dangerous levels.
- The ideal level of CO is 0 ppm however levels up to 9 ppm are acceptable in offices though the presence of this gas may lead to acute health effects such as shortness of breath, nausea, and confusion.
- Even minor factors such as traffic can affect the amount of carbon monoxide in city offices.
- In recent years hotels, restaurants, and shopping centres have chosen to implement carbon monoxide detectors with the intention to ensure the safety of people attending these places.
The best way to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning will always be prevention through the implementation of carbon monoxide gas detectors.