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Carbon Monoxide Effects On Humans – Things You Should Know

Do you know well about carbon monoxide effects on humans? If not, this is the article for you to find out where it comes from and how to reduce CO pollution.

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Carbon monoxide is an invisible, very toxic gas. Not only does it cause pollution to the surrounding environment, but there are also many carbon monoxide effects on humans.

CO can kill you before you realize it presents in your home. The effects of this gas can vary, depending on age, health situation, concentration, and duration of exposure.

Certainly, you will want to know what is the most common source of carbon monoxide. It is important information to help you better understand it. This way, you can find effective methods to limit CO emissions and protect the health of your family.

What Is Carbon Monoxide? 


Carbon monoxide has the chemical formula CO. It is the colorless, odorless gas that can come from motor vehicles. CO is also a flammable and highly toxic gas. This class of substances is derived from the incomplete combustion of hydrocarbons.

CO from cars
CO from cars

Where Does Carbon Monoxide Pollution Come From? 

CO is a colorless, odorless gas that can come from motor vehicles. In big cities or urban areas, the number of vehicles increases a lot. The combustion of engine fuel in motorcycles and cars produces a significant amount of CO.

Besides, daily activities are also a source of CO. They can be the burning of coal, wood, gas, propane, furnace, water heater, or stove operations. House and forest fires also contribute to the release of CO into the air.

 Gas stoves are also a culprit of CO pollution
Gas stoves are also a culprit of CO pollution

Effects Of Carbon Monoxide 

Carbon Monoxide Effects On Humans 

  •  Indoor Pollution

The burning of wood, fuel, or the fuel-burning process of broken machinery in the house produces CO. In the small and closed space of the house or flat, CO can not release and gradually accumulate in high concentrations.

Even when CO does not have the smell and color, it still affects the air quality in your home. It will cause difficulty breathing, suffocation, and even death if not detected promptly.

  • At Low Concentration

The effects of CO on humans will vary depending on its density. At low concentrations, the healthy person may experience shortness of breath and fatigue. People with heart disease may suffer from spasms or sharp pain in the chest area.

  • At Medium Concentration

At medium concentrations, the symptoms on your body when affected by CO will be more obvious. You will feel angina and vision loss. 

How does carbon monoxide affect human health? It will hold the space of oxygen in the blood and decline the functions of the brain. So, our brain cannot control the body flexibly as usual with CO poisoning.

  • At High Concentration

You may encounter a headache, dizziness, or nausea at a high concentration of CO. Some people may experience vision loss or some symptoms of a cold. 

If you leave an area with a high CO level immediately, these symptoms can quickly disappear. However, this is a dangerous situation because it can endanger human life if delayed.

Carbon Monoxide Effects On Environment 

  • Air pollution

Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas that deteriorates our air quality. CO from vehicles and combustion causes smoke, dust, and air pollution.

Currently, the earth is facing global warming and climate change. This is one of the most serious consequences of carbon monoxide air pollution.

  • Ozone formation

CO is part of a chain reaction to form carbon dioxide. Therefore, along with other harmful gasses, carbon monoxide pollution is also one of the factors that harm our ozone layer.

How To Limit Carbon Monoxide? 

Car And Motorbike Management

The most common source of carbon monoxide pollution is vehicle. So, using motorcycles and cars with environmentally friendly engines is a great way to reduce CO.

In addition, you should not run the engine of a car, motorbike, or any gasoline-powered engine next to an open door or window in your home. It helps to minimize the release of exhaust gasses into the enclosed room.

Management Of Fuel-powered Equipment

Do not run generators, compressors, or gasoline-powered engines in basements, garages, or enclosed rooms. Keep in mind that even with windows open, burning fuel can still cause a build-up of CO in your home.

Limit the use of charcoal stoves or gas stoves. You can replace these appliances with an electric stove in your home.

Other Prevention Tips

If you regularly use appliances that run on gas or coal, you can install a CO detector in your home. Let’s check and replace detector batteries regularly, at least every six months.

Besides, installing a ventilation system is also a useful way to prevent and limit CO poisoning. However, you need to keep the ventilation system in good condition and remove obstructions blocking the ventilation path.

 CO detector
CO detector

Final Words 

Carbon monoxide effects on humans are the cause of many people’s concern and search for ways to reduce this emission. Not only that, the quality of our living environment will not be guaranteed if the CO concentration exceeds the allowable level.

Usually, the 0.01% concentration of CO in the air is already harmful to human health. Limiting the combustion of gasoline and fuel is the fastest and most effective way to protect yourself from CO pollution.

Besides, many people choose to install ventilation systems or gas detectors to ensure safety in daily life. CO poisoning probably will not happen often. However, prevention is always essential to proactively protect yourself and your family safely.


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