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Post subject: WHAT IS CARBON MONOXIDE?  PostPosted: Jul 03, 2005 - 08:29 AM

Medical Information
It is not the intention of Raptor-Pack to provide specific medical advice but rather to provide users with information to better understand their health and their diagnosed disorders. Specific medical advice will not be provided, and Raptor-Pack urges you to consult with a qualified physician for diagnosis and for answers to your personal questions and specific medical advice


Carbon Monoxide is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in America, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). 1,500 people die annually due to accidental carbon monoxide exposure, and additional 10,000 seek medical attention. (Medical experts agree that it's difficult to estimate the total number of carbon monoxide incidents because the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning resemble so many other common ailments.)

Carbon monoxide is a flammable, colorless, odorless, tasteless toxic gas produced during incomplete combustion of fuel - Natural Gas, Oil, Coal, Wood, Kerosene, etc.

During normal combustion, each atom of carbon in the burning fuel joins with two atoms of oxygen - forming a harmless gas called carbon dioxide. When there is a lack of oxygen to ensure complete combustion of the fuel, each atom of carbon links up with only one atom of oxygen - forming carbon monoxide gas.

Please visit the new
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Discussion Forum
and add your thoughts to the conversations posted there, or start your own new thread. It's online and available now at :

What is the danger to me?

Carbon monoxide inhibits the blood's capacity to carry oxygen. In out lungs, CO quickly passes into our bloodstream and attaches itself to hemoglobin (oxygen carrying pigment in red blood cells). Hemoglobin readily accepts carbon monoxide - even over the life giving oxygen atoms (as much as 200 times as readily as oxygen) forming a toxic compound known as carboxyhemoglobin (COHb).

By replacing oxygen with carbon monoxide in our blood, our bodies poison themselves by cutting off the needed oxygen to our organs and cells, causing various amounts of damage - depending on exposure.

Low levels of carbon monoxide poisoning (with COHb levels of 10%) result in symptoms commonly mistaken for common flu and cold symptoms - shortness of breath on mild exertion, mild headaches, nausea.

With higher levels of poisoning (COHb levels of 30%) the symptoms become more severe - dizziness, mental confusion, severe headaches, nausea, fainting on mild exertion.

At high levels (CHOb of 50% or more) there may be unconsciousness and death.

How does CO enter the home?

Carbon monoxide can escape from any fuel-burning appliance, furnace, water heater, fireplace, woodstove, or space heater.

Most newer homes are built very air-tight, thus cutting down on the supply of fresh air to your furnace - and creating an oxygen starved flame. Tight closing replacement windows and doors, as well as additional insulation can cause similar problems in older homes.

Carbon monoxide can spill from vent connections in poorly maintained or blocked chimneys. If the flue liner is cracked or deteriorated, CO can seep through the liner and into the house - slowly creeping up to dangerous levels. If a nest or other materials restrict or block the flue, CO will mostly spill back into the house.

Improperly sized flues connected to new high-efficiency furnaces and water heaters can also contribute to CO spillage. (Many new furnaces and water heaters are installed using the existing chimneys which may be the wrong size to allow the furnace to vent properly.)

Warming up vehicles in an attached garage, even with the garage door opened, can allow concentrated amounts of CO to enter your home through the car port door or near-by windows.

What to do in a CO emergency.

If you are suffering from chronic flu-like symptoms, see your doctor and ask him if it could be a low-level CO poisoning.

If you have a CO detector, and it alarms, open windows and ventilate your home w/ fresh air, have your heating system checked by a professional.

If your alarm sounds and you are feeling drowsy or dizzy, leave the house and call 911 from your neighbors home. You may need medical attention for CO poisoning.



CONTACT: Rick Frost
September 20, 1996
(301) 504-0580 Ext. 1166
Release # 96-189


Washington, D.C. -- Having your home inspected each year at the beginning of the heating season can help avoid deadly carbon monoxide gas from leaking into your home, according to Chairman Ann Brown of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

"CO poisoning from the use of fuel burning appliances kills at least 200 people each year and sends more than 5,000 to hospital emergency rooms for treatment," Brown said. "Consumers can avoid this tragedy by having their fuel-burning appliances inspected by a qualified technician each year, and by purchasing and installing CO detectors that meet the requirements of the Oct. 1, 1995 Underwriters Laboratories standards."

CO is a colorless, odorless gas produced by burning any fuel. The initial symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to the flu, and include dizziness, fatigue, headache, nausea and irregular breathing. High level exposure to CO can cause death.

"Modern heating equipment is sophisticated and requires special training and tools for proper maintenance," Brown said. "CPSC recommends that consumers should not service their own appliances, but instead have a qualified professional perform an inspection."

A yearly inspection of your home by a professional should include a careful look at the following sources of carbon monoxide:
o Furnaces, hot water heaters and stoves. If they burn natural gas, heating oil, wood or other kinds of fuel, these appliances are potential sources of CO.

o Chimneys, flues and vents. Have flues and chimneys inspected before each heating season for leakage and for blockage by creosote or debris. Creosote buildup or leakage could cause black stains on the outside of the chimney or flue. These stains can mean that pollutants are leaking into the house. Have all vents to furnaces, water heaters or boilers checked to make sure they are not loose or disconnected.

o High Temperature Plastic Venting (HTPV) pipes. CPSC has received reports that high temperature plastic venting (HTPV) pipes -- which are used in mid-efficiency appliances -- may separate or crack. This could allow CO from the furnace to enter a home. The CPSC is currently investigating this problem. Homeowners with a gas-fired mid-efficiency furnace or boiler installed between 1987 and 1993 should have them inspected for cracking or separating.

o Improper ventilation. Make sure that your appliances have adequate ventilation. A supply of fresh air is important to help carry pollutants up the chimney, stovepipe or flue, and is necessary for the complete combustion of any fuel.

Finally, consumers should be aware that charcoal grills can also be a potential source of CO. Never use charcoal grills in enclosed spaces such as a home, garage, vehicle or tent, and never bring grills with live coals indoors after use. Never use charcoal grills as an indoor heat source.

"Carbon monoxide is a deadly threat, but it can be avoided by having a yearly professional inspection of your home fuel burning appliances and by installing a CO detector that meets the most recent UL standards," Brown said.



The following letter was e-mailed from a visitor to our CO ALERT web page (http://www.homesafe.com/coalert) .

-------------------------- START -------------------------

To the editor:

The story I am about to tell you is a miracle. It is a miracle that my family and myself are still alive. I don't think the general public understands how dangerous CO is and how common of a problem that it really is.
My parents had a custom home built in 1986. We moved in June 1,1986. I was 21, a college student,a restaurant worker, and a gift shop owner. I was in perfect health and did not even have a physician except for a pediatrician.
The fall semester started at college at the end of August. By september, I noticed when I walked to class that my chest hurt right in the center and that I couldn't breathe well. I thought maybe I had bronchitis because I hated to wear a jacket. I bought some over the counter medication; but that didn't work. I began to feel tired as well. I felt so bad that my parents urged me to see a doctor.

I decided to go to the student health clinic at the university that I attended. I knew the director as well. He said it was allergies which I had never had before. Just take some dimeatap. So I did; but I continued to get worse. Now, my left ankle was beginning to throb and hurt. I could hardly walk. I was so tired. He began to run blood tests and take x-rays. His conclusion was that I had bronchitis. He gave me an antibiotic.

The antibiotic didn't help either. I began to not eat because my throat felt tight, irritated, and I choked easily. My sinus hurt as well. I had a mottled rash not raised on my skin. The director of the student health center had no idea what was going on. He sent me to a private practice.

By this time, my hair is falling out by the hands full, I have extreme fatigue, you cannot touch me because it feels as though you beat me, I have night sweats until you can wring my clothes out, I can't pick my head up it lays on my chest, I can pull long green thick rope like strands of mucous from my nose, and I am in pain from head to toe. My blood work is all messed up. I had high sed rates, positive ana, high white counts, lymphocytes, etc.

The doctor in the private practice doesn't know what to do with me either. She sends me to a pulmonary specialist. He does alot of testing and says you have COPD, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, interstitial lung disease and I don't know what caused it.

From there, I go to a rheumatologist. By this time, I am in a wheel chair. I am a miserable person. So sick I can hardly stand to live. The doctor said he needed to put me somewhere that the doctors could come to me, because its obvious I can't continue to go to them. He sent me to N.C. Baptist Hospital.

My mother and I were there a week. This is January 1987. I have now suffered literally through five months. The doctors tested my everything. They sent me home on a Friday. The doctor called us on Monday. He said it is possible that she has a connective tissue disorder, mixed connective tissue disorder, wegner's disease but we are going to call it a lupus like syndrome.

The doctors started me on prednisone. I began to see some improvement. By this time, it is February 1987.

Please keep in mind that I was in perfect health. Starting in November of 1986, my life consisted of laying on a fold up cot in my family room. I couldn't climb the stairs. I couldn't do anything. I lost a 100lbs. in three months, too.

At the same time, my dog became ill too. The veterinarian diagnosed her with lupus, too. We thought that was odd. She began to bust open with sores all over her body and to hemorrhage in her retinas, she would wander all over the yard and couldn't find her way back, she had incontinence, she was weak, and she would bite at me like she didn't know me. Finally, I had her put to sleep. I couldn't stand to see her suffer like me.

Now, let me skip ahead. I have continued to have this lupus like syndrome. Now, I have a lung capacity of 27%, a PO2 of 44, and I am on oxygen 24 hours a day.
In December of 1995, my mom and I watched Oprah. She had a program on carbon monoxide poisoning. We decided it would be a good idea to get two. So late in December, my mom was in a store that sold them and bought two.

We put one in the garage which is attached to the house. We thought if we have a source that would be it. The other one we put upstairs where the bedrooms are. We really didn't read the information on it. We noticed the light would blink but we thought it was just testing itself.

On December 24, Sunday morning, my mom got up and opened the door that goes from the house to the garage and the CO detector was sounding an alarm. She didn't want to wake anyone up so she wrapped it in a towel and put it in a storage room in the garage. I know big mistake!!!I was awakened by another CO detector. The one upstairs. We called the fire department. I had just came home from the hospital and was on oxygen.

The fire department opened all the windows and doors. By the time they got the machine here to read the level, it was a level 6. The fire department said the source was our gas hot water heater. The fireman cut off the pilot light and told us to get a plumber.

We called a plumber that minute. He was a friend of ours and came out. When the builder built the house, they did not put any ventilation around the hot water heater. The plumber cut in a vent in the foundation. The flue for the water heater was not installed properly either. It had an elbow in it which caused CO granules to clog and seal it off. All this had been like this since we bought the house. But we were relieved to be alive and thought we had the problem solved.

My mom and I sent my dad to the store for another CO detector for the downstairs area, where I am still living. We installed it and thought we would rest easy that night.

It was about three a.m., when the new downstairs detector went off. It was Christmas morning. The fire department told us what to do so we opened doors and windows.

The next few days were just like a nightmare out of some novel. I couldn't believe the things that were happening to us. Through the gas company and a heating and cooling company, we found out why the new detector went off continually.

Our chimney has two flues. One for the fireplace and one for the natural gas furnace which is under the house in the crawl space. When the house was built in 1986, the builder sealed the flue to the furnace with mortar. It was sealed completely. The heating and cooling company had to take a sledge hammer to get it out.

This means we had occult chronic carbon monoxide poisoning for ten years. We just couldn't believe it. The first thing that hit our minds was this is what made me sick. Now, I just have to get a doctor to connect it.

But it wasn't over here. We decided to have a chimney sweep come out to make sure it wasn't blocked anymore by anything. The chimney sweep man told us that part of the flue for the furnace is not lined. About two feet of the flue at the bottom. Not only that but it is cracked all over the place. So we are now getting a new lining and cap for the flues. Thank God, we never burned the fireplace.

That's not it either. Over the ten years our upstairs unit had a problem with the pilot light not staying lit. I don't know how many times that we had someone check it. I read some information that came with one of the carbon monoxide detectors and it said that if your pilot light won't stay lit something is wrong. We called another company out to check it.

It has a big hole not a crack in the heat exchanger. We are getting a new furnace upstairs right now.

Now you know it is a miracle that we are alive. It's unbelievable that one house($300,000.00) could have such negligence in it to have four sources of carbon monoxide.

What bothers me the most is what it has taken from me. Now, I wait every day to see if my health will improve and to see if any other symptoms appear. I bought a computer so that I could search the net for someone else with the same problem and to make a connection between the CO poisoning and a lupus like syndrome.

I urge you to some how make your web site more prominent. This is so important. I think the greatest gift you could give to someone would be a carbon monoxide detector.

Thanks and I am sorry this got so long. This really is the short version. If you have any information for me, please send it.


------------------------------ END -------------------------

Please forward any comments regarding this letter to FIRESIDE@webpros.net and I will be sure to pass them along to the author of this letter.


Other Sources of CO Information on the Web

The CPSC's Carbon Monoxide Site
Expert Advice From the CPSC

The FIRESIDE e-News : Join Today!
Stay Informed About CO w/ FREE e-News

Chimney Safety Institute of America
Carbon Monoxide Info Page

NASA measures CO from SPACE

Vol. Fire Departments Guide to CO

If you have any additional information concerning this topic and would like to present it in this forum, please drop us a note at : editor@homesafe.com

Medical Information
It is not the intention of Raptor-Pack to provide specific medical advice but rather to provide users with information to better understand their health and their diagnosed disorders. Specific medical advice will not be provided, and Raptor-Pack urges you to consult with a qualified physician for diagnosis and for answers to your personal questions and specific medical advice




Any Questoins, I will try to answer send me a e-mail.

"I'd rather regret something I did, than regret never doing it at all"
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Post subject:   PostPosted: Jul 03, 2005 - 09:06 AM

Major General
Thank You Diane,

Having lived in the mid-to-nothern latitudes, this information is IMPORTANT. In the summer months, many of us leave our windows cracked or open for better ventilation. But in the winter months, this advice could save your (and your family's) life. We usually start sealing our homes up in the fall to save on ever increasing utility bills. But, in doing so, we open ourselves (and families) to the possibility of CO poisoning. I have been the unfortunate responder to homes in the past where this has occurred. Most of the familys survived with only headaches and feeling lethargic for the day. But, I've also seen families suffer the ultimate tragedy of death(s) from CO in the home. ONE death is too many if it can be avoided. Here locally, some of the fire departments offer free smoke and/or CO detectors to residents who will simply go to the fire station and pick them up. They can also be purchased locally for as little as around $25.00. Surely, $25.00 is worth your and your family's life?

Please, take this message to heart and get a CO detector. I want to know you all for a long, long time!


Those that have never known fear, have never known ME.
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