Carbon Monoxide (CO)
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, tasteless and poisonous gas. It is a product of incomplete combustion of hydrocarbon-based fuels and is emitted directly from automobile tailpipes. Other lesser but significant sources are the wood industry, residential wood heating and forest fires.
CO can have a significant impact on human health. It enters the bloodstream through the lungs and forms carboxyhemoglobin, a compound that inhibits the blood's capacity to carry oxygen to organs and tissues. Persons with heart disease are especially sensitive to CO poisoning. Infants, elderly persons, and individuals with respiratory diseases are also particularly sensitive. CO can affect healthy individuals, impairing exercise capacity, visual perception, manual dexterity, learning functions, and ability to perform complex tasks.
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