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Carbon Monoxide Poisoning


Overview :

Carbon monoxide, sometimes called coal gas, has been known as a toxic substance since the third century B.C. It was used for executions and suicides in early Rome. Today it is the leading cause of accidental poisoning in the United States. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, 2,000 Americans die each year from accidental exposure to CO, and another 2,300 from intentional exposure (suicide). An additional 10,000 people seek medical attention after exposure to CO. The Consumer Products Safety Commission eported in 2004 that about 64% of unintentional CO poisoning deaths occur in the home.

Anyone who is exposed to CO will become sick, and the entire body is involved in CO poisoning. A developing fetus can also be poisoned if a pregnant woman breathes CO gas. Infants, people with heart or lung disease, or those with anemia may be more seriously affected. People such as underground parking garage attendants who are exposed to car exhausts in a confined area are more likely to be poisoned by CO. Firemen also run a higher risk of inhaling CO.




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