Carbon Monoxide

What is carbon monoxide? Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas that doesn’t have a taste, a smell, or even a color. Any appliance in the house that uses gas can produce carbon monoxide.

Some appliances that can produce carbon monoxide are:

When these appliances produce carbon monoxide in closed spaces they can endanger the health of those who are breathing it in.

  • Gas lanterns
  • Gas stoves
  • Heaters that use gas or kerosene
  • Gas water heaters
  • Wood or charcoal fires

Is carbon monoxide bad for my family?

  • High levels of carbon monoxide can cause sudden sickness and even death.
  • It is known as the “silent killer in the cold” because it is difficult to detect and often results from defective heaters.
  • Carbon monoxide can make you sick when it enters the body when you breathe, preventing oxygen from getting to important organs like the heart.

Why is carbon monoxide dangerous to pregnant women?

  • Carbon monoxide poisoning during pregnancy can cause damage to your baby.
  • If you are pregnant, high levels of carbon monoxide can lead to:
    • Lower body weight for your baby
    • Stillbirth
    • Problems with brain growth in newborns

How can I protect my household from carbon monoxide?

  • Buy a carbon monoxide detector for your house. These should be installed in a hallway near each bedroom. They are cheap and are available at hardware stores.
  • Never leave the car running when the garage doors are closed. Don’t sit in your car when it is in the garage (while the car is running).
  • Use gas appliances only in the way the instructions say.
  • Use a fan or open a window when cooking with a gas or wood stove.
  • Open the smoke hood when using the chimney.
  • Be sure that the house is always ventilated.
  • Never use your gas stove to heat your house.
  • Don’t cook with charcoal or wood.

For more information on how to protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning call:

  • US Consumer Product Safety Commission: 1(800)638-2772

Additional information and resources:

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