Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas that is difficult to detect because it is odorless and tasteless. CO is the number one cause of accidental poisonings in the United States, causing thousands of emergency room visits and hundreds of deaths each year (i). It is produced anywhere that coal, gasoline, kerosene, oil, propane, or wood is burned. Typically, it is produced in the home by gas powered appliances like furnaces, ovens, or water heaters. Also, the use of propane heaters in campers, tents, or vehicles has caused serious cases of poisoning. People who have experienced this type of injury may want to talk to a carbon monoxide lawyer who can advise them of their legal rights.
CO is dangerous because it is absorbed by red blood cells more quickly than oxygen. When people are exposed to high concentrations of the gas, it can starve the body of oxygen. This is significant because deprivation of oxygen can cause permanent carbon monoxide injuries to the heart or brain. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC), the first signs of poisoning are headache, fatigue, nausea, and chest pain. These initial warning signs occur when levels reach about 70 parts per million. Prolonged exposure to levels between 150 and 200 parts per million can lead to disorientation, unconsciousness, or death (ii).
In recent years, the CSPC has issued recalls on a number of products that had caused poisoning. For example, it recalled 45,000 Brinkman Outdoor Tabletop Heaters due to this danger (iii). Additionally, gas ranges and gas boilers have been recalled due to these same safety concerns. Poisoning can also occur because a CO detector malfunctions or a landlord fails maintain property. Property owners should always make sure that detectors are installed correctly and that gas appliances have proper ventilation. In March 2013, KTVB News reported that a carbon monoxide lawsuit was filed against an apartment complex, plumbing company, and water heater manufacturer after a Marine died from poisoning. The suit alleges that water heater problems were reported but not fixed in a timely manner (iv).
The new informational graphic describes the signs of CO poisoning and lists common household items that produce this gas. Click here to view the carbon monoxide infographic. d’Oliveira & Associates has experience handling personal injury and wrongful death cases. The firm also works with carbon monoxide attorneys who have extensive experience handling these cases and do not charge a fee until their clients receive a settlement or award. Call 1-800-922-6878 or fill out a contact form online for a free legal consultation.
- (i) Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
- (ii) Consumer Protection Safety Commission.
- (iii) Consumer Protection Safety Commission, Product Recall.
- (iv) KTVB News, March 7, 2013.