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Carbon Monoxide Safety

posted Oct 5, 2011, 7:40 AM by Kayla Reidel
Consumers Energy reports Carbon Monoxide is a very dangerous oderless gas that could build up in your home and threaten the health and safety of you and your family.

What is carbon monoxide?

Most people are unaware there may be a silent killer lurking in their home. Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas that is colorless, tasteless and potentially fatal. It’s produced when fossil fuel burns incompletely because of insufficient oxygen. Many ordinary household things such as wood stoves, coal and charcoal fires always produce carbon monoxide, as do gasoline engines.

How dangerous is carbon monoxide? Consider these facts:

  • According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) more than 400 people accidentally die from carbon monoxide each year in the United States, more than from any other poison
  • In the United States, an estimated 20,000 people are treated annually for CO poisoning in hospital emergency rooms, but it is believed that many more are misdiagnosed, or never seek medical care.
    At low concentrations, CO can go undetected and contribute to nagging illnesses
  • Exposure to CO happens most often within the home, a place families count on for safety and comfort
  • Because CO poisoning symptoms are so similar to that of the flu, CO-related health problems are often misdiagnosed or ignored until it’s too late. Animals are also at risk, while unborn babies, infants, and people with chronic heart disease, anemia and respiratory problems are more susceptible to its effects 

Common household appliances can be a deadly source of CO poison

CO is a by-product of incomplete combustion of fuels like natural gas, liquid propane, coal, oil and wood. That means a defective furnace, a blocked chimney, faulty gas appliances like a water heater or range, clogged venting or a car idling in the garage can all present a serious danger to your family.

For more information visit Consumers Energy at:

Healthy Home Coalition of West Michigan

The Healthy Homes Coalition works with families with children to connect them with resources that can help provide a carbon monoxide detector for their home free of charge.  Resources to provide these free CO detectors are often limited.  To see about getting a free detector for you home, contact the Healthy Homes Coalition of West Michigan at (616) 241-3300.  If resources are not available when you call, we will make sure you get on a waiting list.