Carbon monoxide is an extremely dangerous gas that is virtually undetectable to the human senses-it is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. But what you do not see, smell or taste can be deadly. Carbon monoxide is sometimes called the “silent killer” and it is a leading cause of poisoning deaths in the United States. Carbon monoxide is produced when there is incomplete combustion of natural gas, gasoline, kerosene, coal, and/or wood. Common household appliances, such as gas furnaces, gas water heaters, gas clothes dryers, gas stoves, fireplaces, charcoal grills, and wood-burning stoves are potential sources of carbon monoxide emissions. Carbon monoxide exposure can also result when automobiles or generators are left running in enclosed areas, such as garages.
Carbon monoxide is hazardous because it interferes with the body’s ability to carry oxygen to human tissue. It binds with hemoglobin far better than oxygen and, as a result, human tissue becomes oxygen-starved. Organs with the highest demand for oxygen, such as the brain and heart, are most likely to be damaged as a result of carbon monoxide exposure.
Carbon monoxide incidents generally involve acute exposures to high quantities of the gas or chronic exposures to lower levels of the gas. Acute exposures can be fatal; both types can cause permanent damage. The signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure include:
- flu-like symptoms
- shortness of breath
- blurred vision
- chest pain
- lapse of memory
- loss of consciousness
If you have suffered carbon monoxide poisoning, please contact Wallen Kelley, your Miami carbon monoxide poisoning attorneys, for a free consultation.