Carbon monoxide, or CO, is a poisonous gas that cannot be smelled, seen or tasted, and can cause death in minutes if it is at high levels. Carbon monoxide can quickly build up to unsafe levels in enclosed or semi-enclosed areas.
Carbon monoxide is produced when fuel is not completely burned in:
- Gas furnaces
- Cars, trucks, boats and other vehicles
- Small gasoline-powered equipment like generators, weed trimmers and chain saws
- Gas stoves
- Burning charcoal and wood
- Any heating system or appliance that burns gas, oil, wood, gasoline, propane or kerosene
Tobacco smoke is a significant source of carbon monoxide in homes with smokers. Roughly 50 percent of all carbon monoxide poisonings occur in the home, 40 percent are automobile related and 10 percent occur in work settings.