Carbon Monoxide News and Information

Archive for the ‘Carbon Monoxide News and Information’ Category

Carbon monoxide (CO), or the silent killer as it is ominously referred to as, is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that can cause significant damage to the human body.  In large concentrations, CO can lead to permanent damage and even death.  But what people sometimes forget is that CO can hurt you and your family in your very own home.   Everyone is at risk for CO poisoning, so it is important to know the signs and symptoms of a poisoning, how CO is produced, and how to protect your household.

CO is produced when organic material is burned.  Carbon-based fuels such as gasoline and charcoal are huge sources of CO.  In the home, any gas-burning appliance can be a potentially deadly source of CO.  Furnaces, boilers, gas stoves, water heaters, fire places, gas-powered power tools, and countless other sources of the gas can be found in the average home.  The most important thing you can do as a homeowner is to make sure these appliances are serviced regularly.  Blocked vents, holes in piping, and equipment incorrectly assembled or used can lead to a buildup of CO in the home.  Make sure to install a proper CO detector in your home to alert residents of a possible leak.

A particularly dangerous practice that people engage in involves portable gas burning generators.  During the cold season or during power outages people often run generators, but they should never put a gas generator in the house, garage, or even outside near a window.  According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), these generators are capable of producing CO levels several hundred times those found in normal automobile exhausts.  High CO concentrations have the potential to kill people in a matter of minutes.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that generators should be used a minimum of 20 feet away from the home in a properly ventilated area.

The presence of CO, though virtually undetectable with the senses, can be prevented through proper operation and maintenance of gas appliances.

Virginia Carbon Monoxide Lawyer

If you or someone that you care about have been harmed by the effects of carbon monoxide caused by a defective appliance, or a faulty repair, contact us. For over 28 years, Richard Serpe and his associates have fought with passion to protect those poisoned by toxic substances. Contact us today for a free case evaluation 877-544-5323.

Automobiles are a significant source of CO

Carbon monoxide (CO) is produced by the burning of carbon-based fuel.  With that said, it’s easy to understand why automobiles are a significant source of CO.  This colorless and odorless gas can have devastating effects on the body, especially because it is difficult to identify.  Large amounts of the gas can build up, and the victim may have no idea until it is too late.  While there have been many advancements aimed at decreasing the amount of CO produced by machinery such as automobiles, the risk of CO poisoning still remains significant, with CO being the leading cause of accidental poisoning in America.

Defective Car Parts Can Cause CO Poisoning

With the invention of the catalytic converter, CO emissions in a typical car’s exhaust have been decreased by about 90%.  This device uses oxygen to convert CO to CO2. However, the catalytic converter in the engine can only do its job if everything is working perfectly.  Defective exhaust systems in which the tubing from engine to tailpipe is not completely sealed will allow CO to bypass the converter and build up in the surrounding area.  Faulty engines can cause large amounts of CO that damage the converter.  Holes in the body of the car can let in whatever CO is in the area and trap it in a small, enclosed area, putting any passengers in a dangerous situation.  The catalytic converter is also ineffective when there is insufficient oxygen in the area, which can occur in closed spaces like garages.  This is why it is dangerous to leave your car running in a garage, even if the garage is open.

Things to Consider

Because cars are such an integral part of our society, we have the potential to come in contact with CO every day.  However, there are precautions you can take to help prevent yourself and your loved ones from being poisoned by this gas.  Make sure that your vehicle undergoes regular checkups that include checking for CO emissions (especially in winter months, when more fuel is used to start the car).  Do not allow passengers to ride in the bed of trucks, especially if the tailgate is open or if there is a cap.  The shape of the truck bed creates suction that pulls exhaust fumes directly into the bed and traps them there, where they buildup.  Repair any holes in the body of the car to prevent CO from leaking in.  Be on the lookout for any symptoms (click here for the signs and symptoms) of CO poisoning, especially during long car trips.

Because CO poisoning may not be apparent until severe symptoms begin to show, it is imperative to take preventative measures to protect yourself and your passengers.  Make sure that your vehicle is properly maintained and that risky practices are avoided.

Virginia Carbon Monoxide Lawyer

If you or someone that you care about have been harmed by the effects of carbon monoxide caused by a defective vehicle, you may have a case against the manufacturer. For over 28 years, Richard Serpe and his associates have fought with passion to protect those poisoned by toxic substances. Contact us today for a free case evaluation 877-544-5323.

Carbon monoxide is a silent killer, giving no indication of its deadly presence besides its flu-like symptoms (click here for to learn about the signs and symptoms).  Many people know that the risk of CO poisoning is present at home, but poisonings in the workplace are just as likely to occur.  Because the gas is produced by the burning of any carbon containing material, such as natural gas or coal, workers in industrial occupations around any type of combustion are at risk.

Occupations with Greatest Risk for CO Exposure

Basically, if you work around any form of incineration, you are vulnerable.  According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), one of the most common sources of exposure at work is the internal combustion engine.  People who are employed as welders, mechanics, diesel engine operators, marine terminal workers, and similar occupations are specifically mentioned by OSHA as being at above-normal risk for CO poisoning.  Those working with engines and other combustion machinery in small, closed off spaces such as warehouses, boiler rooms, and tunnels are also vulnerable because CO can quickly build up in poorly ventilated areas.

Preventing CO Poisoning

While these occupations are inherently risky because of the threat of CO poisoning, there are measures that both employers and employees in these areas can take to prevent poisoning.  Employers can install efficient ventilation systems to introduce fresh air into the work place and to help dissipate CO and other harmful gases produced in industrial processes.  Combustion equipment such as engines and furnaces must be properly installed and cared for or else harmful leaks can lead to a buildup of CO.  CO monitors and alarms (link to detector article) should also be utilized to monitor for any leaks or buildups in order to evacuate individuals in the area before symptoms even begin to show.  Employees should also be educated about the harmful effects of CO, proper safety precautions they should take, and symptoms of a poisoning.

The ill effects of CO poisoning can be reversed if a poisoning is caught soon enough.  People need to be aware of the presence of the gas in order to identify its symptoms.  If a CO buildup is not caught fast enough, large amounts can collect and cause acute poisonings.  High concentrations of CO can cause significant, permanent damage to the body.  The effects of exposure to low doses for long periods of time are not yet fully understood, and so every measure should be taken to prevent excess CO accumulation.

Virginia Carbon Monoxide Lawyers

According to federal law, employers must take certain precautionary measures to ensure that CO levels are below a certain concentration, and to ensure that equipment does not emit high amounts of CO.  If you or someone you care about was poisoned by carbon monoxide at work, and you believe that negligence may have played a part in the poisoning, you need dedicated legal assistance to help support your claim and ensure that you receive adequate compensation for any injuries.  Attorneys at our firm are well versed in cases dealing with toxic exposure, and are ready to take your call.

#1 Cause of Poisoning Deaths in US

Carbon monoxide kills over 400 people a year, and is the number one cause of poisoning deaths in America.  This odorless, colorless gas can work quickly, giving little indication of its presence until extreme symptoms of poisoning appear.  Because CO is so difficult to identify, carbon monoxide detectors are needed in every single home.  They provide both a first line of defense and peace of mind, but only when they are properly installed.

What to Look for in a CO Detector

When buying a CO detector, be aware of available options.  CO detectors come in many shapes and sizes.  Most importantly, the CO detector that you choose should meet UL standards.  These standards specify acceptable locations for the detectors and considerations such as response times to certain detected concentrations.  The higher the concentration, the faster the response should be.  First and foremost, you should make sure your detector meets these standards.

Types Of Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Next, choose the type of detector.  Detectors can be battery operated or plug-in with a backup battery.  The latter is the better choice, because they are more dependable.  Detectors that run solely on batteries go through them quickly, making people less likely to replace them when needed.  Plug-ins last longer and have the battery backup in case of a power outage.  Some CO detectors also come with a digital display indicating exact CO concentrations.  For a few extra dollars, these detectors provide valuable knowledge to protect you and your family.  They can convey to the user levels just below threshold, which can be problematic for long periods of time.  They can also display peak readings from the recent past, notifying the home owners of incidents that may have occurred when they weren’t in the house.  Additionally, they can alert emergency responders to the threat level facing CO poisoning victims.

Where to Place Your CO Detector

Finally, CO detectors need to be placed properly in the home so they can work efficiently.  If you choose to purchase only one CO detector, it should be placed near the sleeping area of the house to wake up victims in the middle of the night.  However, it is recommended to purchase enough detectors for every level of the home, and for every bedroom.  Because carbon monoxide is produced by burning fuel, do not place the detector near a fuel burning appliance because this could mask a serious problem (the detector should be at least 15 feet away).  Keep it away from humid areas, like the bathroom, as well.  CO is often produced with hot air and thus has a tendency to rise, so don’t set the detector too close to the floor.  And of course, consult the instruction manual included with your detector and follow the manufacturer’s specific recommendations.  Most modern detectors last 5-6 years, so be sure to replace them after this time frame, even if they appear to be working fine.

Choosing the right CO detector can prevent serious injuries and even death.  Make an informed decision, and install the device correctly to protect yourself and your loved ones.


Do You Need A Virginia Carbon Monoxide Lawyer?

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Richard J. Serpe, PC represent victims and their families that have suffered from the serious side effects of carbon monoxide poisoning caused by a negligent individual or entity. If you’ve been poisoned and you suspect that it was caused by a defective appliance,  faulty repairs, a negligent installation, or the carelessness of another– contact our attorneys today.

Our attorneys understand the urgent need to do an immediate investigation on your behalf to preserve crucial evident and have obtained outstanding results for our clients. We offer a no fee promise which means you pay no legal fees unless we win or settle your case.