Carbon Monoxide Safety
Carbon monoxide is one of the leading causes of accidental poisoning deaths in the United States. Keep yourself and your family safe by learning about the dangers of carbon monoxide, ways to reduce your risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, and what to do if you or a loved one experience symptoms of poisoning.
Sources of Carbon Monoxide
- Carbon monoxide is an odorless, invisible gas that can come from any fuel-burning appliance that is inadequately vented, poorly maintained, worn or improperly adjusted.
- It can also come from inside use of fuel-burning devices — such as grills and unvented kerosene or propane space heaters — that are not designed to be used indoors.
- Poorly maintained or blocked chimneys can also be a source of carbon monoxide.
Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
- Exposure to carbon monoxide can cause a range of symptoms.
- At lower exposures, symptoms can range from mild headaches, fatigue or sleepiness, shortness of breath, light headedness and nausea.
- Exposure at a higher level can lead to mental confusion, impaired judgment or memory, loss of coordination, loss of consciousness and even death.
Carbon Monoxide Alarms/Detectors
We recommend that you purchase several CO alarms that are battery operated. These devices should be installed according to the instructions. The batteries should also be checked throughout the year to ensure they are properly powered. We recommend battery alarms versus others in the event that there is a power outage. You can purchase CO alarms at mostly any local hardware store.
- Carbon monoxide fact sheet from the American Red Cross (PDF)
- "The Invisible Killer," a video from the Consumer Product Safety Commission
- An Introduction to Indoor Air Quality: Carbon Monoxide, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency