Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a highly poisonous gas in low concentrations. The fact it has no taste or smell makes it especially dangerous. Typically Carbon Monoxide is a product of incomplete combustion. This means that anything that burns can generate Carbon Monoxide, boilers, gas fires, coal fires, wood burners, charcoal fires, barbecues, vehicle exhausts as a few examples. Low level exposure over time can have lasting health effects. Around 30 people die every year in the UK from Carbon Monoxide poisoning. If you are burning gas, coal, oil, wood pellets etc to heat your home or use gas for cooking then you must fit Carbon Monoxide detectors.
Typical symptoms of CO poisoning can be:
- Flu Like Feeling
- General Lethargy
Of course you may just have a headache or be under the weather for other reasons but ask yourself a few questions:
- Do you feel better when away from the home?
- Do these symptoms affect more than one person in the home?
- Are the symptoms worse when heating or cooking appliances are on?
If so then consult a Doctor quickly and have your appliances checked!
Of course CO could also occur in the workplace. For instance you may work in a garage workshop where engines are running in a poorly ventilated area. Possibly it could be an indoor kart track or you may be a parking attendant in an underground car park. There are many instances so if you have the symptoms consider the three questions above and take action to get yourself protected. The 1974 Safety at Work Act (UK) requires employers and plant operators to take all steps to ensure a safe workplace.