Detectors may be a little expensive on a restrictive budget,
but saving a life can have no price. New homes come
equipped with carbon monoxide detectors but it is up to
you to install them in older homes or apartments. If you rent,
talk to your landlord, he or she should be putting these
devices in all their properties.
Carbon Monoxide Can Be Deadly--Early
Detection Monitors Make It Easy to Protect Your Family
By: Debra Lynn Dadd
If you burn gas, kerosene, or wood in your home to produce
heat for cooking or warmth, you need to monitor the level of
carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is odorless and can easily
build up to dangerous levels. Ordinary carbon monoxide
detectors don't sound an alarm until certain levels of carbon
monoxide accumulate in the air. New monitors show the amount of
carbon dioxide in the air at any given time, so you can take
action well before levels reach the danger zone.
HOW CARBON MONOXIDE GETS INTO THE AIR IN YOUR HOME
Carbon monoxide is the major toxic combustion by-product
that is created when gas, kerosene, or wood is burned to
produce heat for cooking or warmth. Other combustion
by-products include formaldehyde, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur
dioxide, hydrogen cyanide, nitric acid, and vapors from various
Carbon monoxide and other combustion by-products are
produced when fuels do not burn completely. All fuel-burning
appliances need air for the fuel to burn efficiently. When a
generous supply of fresh air is available and the fuel is
burning properly, there is little danger of poisoning. But when
there is inadequate ventilation or the appliance is not
operating properly, carbon monoxide is produced and can
gradually overcome and even kill an unsuspecting bystander.
Many years before I was born, my grandmother almost died from
carbon monoxide seeping from her gas furnace. It was just by
chance that someone walked in and saved her.
SYMPTOMS OF CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING
It is possible to identify symptoms of carbon monoxide
poisoning if you know what to look for. Your body will tell you
if there is too much carbon monoxide in your home. Different
concentrations of carbon monoxide and different exposure times
cause different symptoms.
Mild exposures to carbon monoxide are often confused with
the flu. Symptoms include sleepiness, slight headache,
dizziness, flushed skin, disorientation, abnormal reflexes,
blurred vision, irritability, slight nausea, fatigue, and an
inability to concentrate.
As exposure continues, mild symptoms turn into severe
throbbing headache, drowsiness, confusion, shortness of breath,
vomiting, and an accelerated heart rate. Unconsciousness and
convulsions are signs that cardio respiratory failure and death
If you or anyone in your family experiences flu-like
symptoms and you burn gas, kerosene or wood in your home, you
should immediately evaluate if it is, in fact, early signs of
carbon monoxide exposure.
CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS AND ALARMS
There are two types of devices that can warn you about
carbon monoxide levels in your home.
Carbon monoxide detectors sound an alarm like a smoke
detector when carbon monoxide reaches dangerous levels. These
are relatively inexpensive, but, like a smoke detector, only
warn you when carbon monoxide in your home has already reached
a level that is approaching dangerous.
Carbon monoxide monitors give you an ongoing numerical
reading of the current level of carbon monoxide, and sound an
alarm when concentrations approach dangerous levels. These cost
around $50, but show you what the actual carbon monoxide
concentration is at any given time. With a monitor, you can
catch carbon monoxide leaks at low levels, and rest assured
that your family is safe.
TO ELIMINATE THE THREAT OF CARBON MONOXIDE...
Electric appliances do not emit combustion by-products under
If you prefer to use gas, propane, or wood, make sure
appliances are well-adjusted for a clean burn and provide
enough ventilation for combustion by-products to escape.
For online sources of carbon monoxide monitors, visit
Hailed as "The Queen of Green" by the New York Times, Debra
Lynn Dadd has been a leading consumer advocate for products and
lifestyle choices that are better for health and the
environment since 1982. Visit her website at http://www.dld123.com to sign up for her
free email newsletters and to browse 100s of links to 1000s
of nontoxic, natural and earthwise products.
I am not a doctor nor do I attempt to diagnose your
condition. I am giving you information about health issues and
resources to improve your health and lifestyle. Discuss this
information with your physician.