Two lower primary boys died and their father and his girlfriend were equally hospitalized in coma after a terrible encounter with odorless, colorless and toxic fumes that leaked into their bungalow residence from a nearby hotel old and deteriorated boiler (Haines 2010). Carbon monoxide is a toxic and deadly gas that besides being odorless and invincible is quite light than air therefore rendering the gas more terrible in case of leakage.
Mild exposure to the gas makes one get disoriented with dizziness and nauseating effect that render someone fatigued and sick.
Continuous exposure to carbon monoxide (CO) leads to death within a short time for children while adults can pass out into a coma and if medical care is not guaranteed death is inevitable. Organically the gas contains oxygen molecule triple bonded with carbon and usually reacts with the body depriving the red blood cells ability from picking oxygen in presence of the lighter gas leading to cell suffocation due to lack of oxygen.
Therefore the general public should be well familiar with the grave danger of CO that is usually liberated in partial combustion of petroleum products, gas, wood and coal that are used in boilers, engines, heaters and burners. Consequently it is important that the domestic home environment is sealed from dangers associated with CO gas leakages that are common due to presence of combustible materials in kitchen, garages and power generating equipment. Carbon monoxide in homes is as a result of partial combustion of fuels like gas, oil, coal or wood in various home appliances.
This gas then leaks out into the atmosphere and inhaled by its victims unknowingly since it is odorless, colorless and very toxic to the thus calling for availability of first aid kits in all homes. Human efforts of preventing air leakage into the house especially during the cold season reduces the availability of fresh air into the house thus posing a threat of carbon monoxide congesting in the house especially when combustion activities are going on such as cooking or heating up the room.
Use of unvented gas heaters and kerosene stoves can become a good source of carbon monoxide in homes since the fresh oxygen is inhibited from getting into the house or cooking room thus combustion is not fully achieved resulting into production of carbon monoxide. Worn out and poorly maintained devises that use combustion can lead to leakage of carbon monoxide saturation in homes due to untimely disconnections, blockage, wrong size of equipment that result from making use of unqualified personnel to install the house hold appliances or delay in replacing worn out ones .
Such equipment includes boilers, heaters, generators and furnaces (EPA 2010). Blocked chimneys and poorly vented ventilations encourage accumulation of carbon monoxide in homes. Animal nests or thrown materials in chimneys always results into the carbon monoxide spilling back into the house thus leading to inhalation by any life animal and people found in the house or room. Further, blockages inhibit oxygen entry during combustion thus very little oxygen is made available for combustion which results into carbon monoxide production in the house thus posing a threat to lives.
Storage of vehicles in attached garage leads to Carbon monoxide emission through the exhaust pipe especially during the warming up of the engine. Warming up of automobiles and other machines powered by gasoline like generators ,lawn mowers and grills in enclosed areas pose carbon monoxide poisoning hazard Use of charcoal burners, driers or ovens to heat up a poorly ventilated house leads to carbon monoxide build up and saturation in homes (NMGCO 1).
Carbon monoxide is known to inhibit the capability of the blood carrying blood to major body most essential organs such as the heart, brain and liver. Upon inhalation, Carbon monoxide being a lighter gas than oxygen dissolves faster through the alveoli wall unto the red blood cells’ hemoglobin. The oxygen carrying protein has cooperatively ability such than it easily combines with large portions of available and lighter gas carbon monoxide thus forming a compound known as carboxyhemoglobin instead of oxyhemoglobin that is readily spent by the body cells (Robert 2010).
Since carboxyhemoglobin is never used in the body, the blood is soon saturated with a foreign gas that cannot be easily removed thus depriving oxygen the hemoglobin transporting protein leading to oxygen deprivation that leads to headache, dizziness, fatigue, and chest pain to individuals with heart problems at lower concentration (NMGCO 2010). When the carbon monoxide concentration gets higher than the body immunity can handle it leads to poor vision and sensitization of the body cells in the victims leading to nausea, brain malfunction and mind confusion.
At extreme concentration, carboxyhemoglobin is formed in the blood thus inhibiting the intake of oxygen in the body thus resulting into death of the victims (Bailey 2010). There are different measures that can be applied in order to reduce carbon monoxide poisoning accidents whose incidents are quite expensive to mitigate. Since the gas is tasteless, odorless and colorless, therefore carbon monoxide detectors can be installed in homes and domestic environments. Usually the accumulation of carbon monoxide can take place without notice in homes that use boiler, gas, kerosene and oil if the equipment is faulty.
Regular checks should be organized by home-keepers by inviting qualified and focused technicians who can do professional repairs. Old burners, boilers, generators and CO producing equipment can be done away with in order to prevent unfortunate mistakes (CO 2000). According to US Environmental Protection Agency gas stoves can be done away with if the home environment is to be kept safe since though the equipment is cheap it pumps 5 to 15 parts per million (ppm) of carbon monoxide with the deteriorated ones scoring 30 ppm while the U.
S. National Ambient Air Quality Standards advocates for outdoor air to contain 9 ppm and indoor a maximum of 35ppm of CO-thus the stove and coal appliances need to be used in open ground (Pollutte 2008). Meticulousness approach to usage of boilers and stoves can be achieved by usage of clear and dry fuel of the highest possible approved standards (Environment 2010). Other measures include having a Gas Safe Registered engineer to install gas appliances with annual checks.
Bedroom heating material should avoid usage of gas and cabinet heaters. All homes that operate CO emitting appliances have to install chimneys and heat ventilations tat have to be checked frequently to clear blockage by cleaning (NHS 2009). In case of an emergence one should cut off the gas supply in the appropriate valve with immediate ventilation and urgent call to a medical facility and a qualified and certified technician to check on the leakage and report appropriately the cause with effective repairs to protect life and environment.
Information dissemination to the community is quite vital if the health of the society is to be-held as a top priority. Carbon monoxide incidents can be compiled together to arouse the mind of the ignorant public about the ill effects of CO leakage and prove that all homes are at risk since gas and coal heaters are common cooking apparatus. Also the history brings in news about the colossal effects of accumulated amounts of carbon monoxide that affected legendaries as Allan Poe though during that time their generation attributed their deaths to sensitivity of the mind.
Therefore if leaflets, magazines and other printed media forms of communication in conjunction with the internet, TV and other digital and analogue mass media the community can be reached and change can be effected bringing about both awareness and a social order that is organized to mitigating risks associated with carbon monoxide poisoning. Conclusively, carbon monoxide poisoning affects the body’s concentration of oxygen thus attacking the general health of the suffocated body parts.
Since the gas is odorless, tasteless, and colorless makes it such a dreadful chemical gas that further enhances the fumes’ ability to sneak in and kill within a relative small span of time in high concentrations while causing detrimental body health deterioration that retards immunity leading to poor health and life. References: Haines, S 2010, Corfu “carbon monoxide death family’s fight for justice”, BBC News Channel, accessed 5 May 2010 <http://news. bbc.
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carbon-monoxide-poisoning. com/> EPA 2010,An Introduction to Indoor Air Quality, Carbon Monoxide (CO), US Environmental protection Agency, Accessed 05 May 2010 <http://www. epa. gov/iaq/co. html> NMGCO 2010, Sources of Carbon Monoxide, New Mexico gas company, Accessed 05 May 2010 < http://www. nmgco. com/Sources_Carbon_Monoxide. aspx > Bailey, R 2010 Carbon monoxide,About. com Accessed 05 May 2010 <http://biology. about. com/od/molecularbiology/a/carbon_monoxide. htm>