Health Indicator Report of Carbon Monoxide: Poison Control Exposures
Carbon monoxide (CO) gas is a colorless, odorless gas that can cause sudden illness or death if inhaled. This cause of death is almost entirely preventable if proper measures are taken such as always having a working carbon monoxide detector in your home or work. CO is found in combustion fumes, such as those produced by cars and trucks, small gasoline engines, stoves, lanterns, burning charcoal and wood, gas ranges, and heating systems. Whenever there is a flame or combustion, some deadly carbon monoxide gas can be produced. CO from these sources can build up in enclosed or semi-enclosed spaces causing people and animals in these spaces to be poisoned by breathing it. CO poisoning is especially a concern after emergency situations such as power outages or natural disasters because of certain equipment people use that gives off CO. Generators, grills, camp stoves, or other gasoline equipment, propane, natural gas, or charcoal-burning devices should never be used inside a home, basement, garage, camper, or even outside near an open window. CO poisoning can also occur outdoors in fresh air and has been reported while boating. In this case, CO poisoning is attributed mostly to generator exhaust that builds up inside and outside a boat in areas near exhaust vents. Dangerous concentrations of CO can accumulate within seconds; therefore, schedule regular engine and exhaust system maintenance with your boat and install and test daily a battery operated CO detector. CO poisoning is almost entirely preventable. To protect yourself from CO poisoning, use equipment that emits CO responsibly and use a properly working carbon monoxide detector in your home. These can be purchased at most grocery and home improvement stores for relatively low cost.
Carbon Monoxide Exposure Reported to Poison Control Center by Year and Sex, Utah, 1998-2009
Data SourceUtah Poison Control Center
Data Interpretation IssuesThis indicator includes calls to the Utah Poison Control Center where actual or suspected human contact with CO was recorded.
DefinitionCarbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless, and poisonous gas that can cause sudden illness and death if inhaled.
NumeratorHuman exposure case count.
DenominatorUtah resident mid-year population.
What Is Being Done?There are organizations that provide free information about CO poisoning and prevention such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Also, health promotion and outreach activities often take place to educate the public about CO poisoning and prevention. However, it is primarily up to the individual to practice behaviors to prevent CO poisoning such as installing working CO detectors and using equipment properly that emits CO gas.
Available ServicesUtah Poison Control Center The Utah Poison Control Center (UPCC) is a 24-hour resource for poison information, clinical toxicology consultation, and poison prevention education. This free and confidential service is available 365 days a year. For poison emergencies, questions, and prevention information call 1-800-222-1222.
Page Content Updated On 12/05/2012, Published on 03/13/2013