- CARBON MONOXIDE:
A highly toxic gas found in automobile exhaust
and where heating equipment venting problems
exist. CO is a colorless, odorless (but sometimes
it combines with other gases that have sharp
odors) and tasteless - VERY HARD TO DETECT.
- Malfunctioning heating equipment, blocked
chimneys due to fallen leaves, birds' nests, fossil
fuel buildup, enclosed heating equipment with
limited ventilation, indoor use of barbecue grills,
use of cooking appliances for heating purposes,
sitting inside a motionless vehicle for a prolonged
period of time with the motor running, repairing
engines (lawnmowers, snowblowers, vehicles, etc.)
without proper ventilation.
- Check your chimney/furnace every fall for blockage,
have your chimney cleaned annually, if your home
undergoes any major renovation, if you heavily insulate
or if you enclose heating equipment to gain additional
living space: CHECK TO SEE IF EXTRA VENTILATION
IS NEEDED, have heating appliances checked for
malfunctioning, have your vehicle's muffler and tailpipe
inspected regularly for carbon monoxide leaks, periodically
check your burner for a hot draft backing out.
- DANGER SIGNS:
- Stuffy, stale or smelly air, very high humidity, fallen
soot from the fireplace or furnace, no draft in your
chimney or a hot draft backing out.
- TAKE ACTION:
- If you encounter danger signs - open windows and
doors, evacuate everyone immediately, from a
neighbor's house call the local fire department, your oil
dealer for oil-burning equipment, your gas company for
gas burning equipment or the Massachusetts Poison
Control System at 781-232-2120.
- CO POISONING SYMPTOMS*:
- Headaches, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting or
loss of muscle control, tightening of the chest, convulsions,
redness of the eyes, sleepiness, fluttering of the heart,
confusion, ringing in the ears, prolonged exposure can lead
to UNCONSCIOUSNESS, BRAIN DAMAGE OR DEATH.
*Victims may experience one, some or all of the symptoms.