Carbon monoxide (CO) gas has caused more accidental deaths than any other poison – not just because it’s fast-acting, but because you can’t see, smell or taste it, and it’s non-irritant.
Potential sources of dangerous CO levels include car exhaust, and combustion fumes from fuel-burning appliances e.g. charcoal braai grills, camping stoves, fireplaces, gas heaters, wood and coal ovens, petrol generators and power tools.
- Make sure you know how to use fuel-burning appliances correctly, with good ventilation, and get them professionally inspected every year.
- Don’t use non-vented appliances indoors, or in semi-enclosed spaces. A non-vented appliance is one that does not have vents to carry smoke and toxic gases outside a building.
- Don’t let your car engine idle in the garage unless the garage door is open and doors leading to the house are closed. (Actuallly, avoid idling your engine anywhere.)
- Finally, consider installing a CO detector.
- Olivia Rose-Innes, EnviroHealth Editor, Health24, September 2011
Carbon monoxide kills in minutes