Indicator Report - Carbon Monoxide: Poison Control Exposures
Why Is This Important?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.
Data SourcesUtah Poison Control Center.
DefinitionCarbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless, and poisonous gas that can cause sudden illness and death if inhaled.
How We Calculated the Rates
Page Content Updated On 12/05/2012, Published on 03/13/2013