Facts about Carbon Monoxide

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colorless and odorless toxic gas that is a product of incomplete combustion. When CO is introduced to the bloodstream through the lungs, it is accepted in place of oxygen at a rate of 300:1 and literally suffocates its victim. Since CO is an accumulative and direct reacting toxin, it can be dangerous even at low levels over longer periods of time. The harmful effects of CO inhalation depends on the following factors:

  1. Concentration of CO in the air.
  2. Length of time exposed to CO gas.
  3. The health, age, sex and size of the individual being exposed.The following
    chart shows the maximum allowable exposure limits and

    symptoms developed
    for CO inhalation.

Concentration of CO in air: Inhalation times and toxic symptons:
9 ppm The maximum allowable concentration for short term exposure in a living area according to ASHRAE.
35 ppm The maximum allowable concentration for continuous exposure in any eight hour period, according to federal law.
200 ppm* Maximum concentration allowable at any time according to OSHA. Slight headaches, fatigue, dizziness, nausea after 2-3 hours.
400 ppm Frontal headaches within 1-2 hours, life threatening after 3 hours. Maximum allowable limit in flue gas according to EPA and AGA.
800 ppm Dizziness, nausea and convulsions within 45 minutes. Unconsciousness within 2 hours.
Death within 2-3 hours.
1,600 ppm Headache, dizziness and nausea within 20 minutes.
Death in 1 hour.
3,200 ppm Headache, dizziness and nausea within 5-10 minutes. Death within 30 minutes.
6,400 ppm Headache, dizziness and nausea within 1-3 minutes. Death within 10-15 minutes.
12,800 ppm Death within 1-3 minutes.

* Exposure to this concentration and higher, the ellects can vary depending on size, age, sex and heatth. Source: UEI and Kane-May.


Quality Inspection Service is not liable for the complete accuracy of this information.


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