Because of the modern world in which we live, there are a lot of carbon monoxide or CO risks we have to deal with on a daily basis. Unfortunately, we can’t just get rid of carbon monoxide entirely – first of all, we’re too dependent on “modern” discoveries like the internal combustion engine and fire, and secondly, there’s CO produced naturally in our atmosphere. We can’t just eliminate it. So rather than try to do the impossible, let’s focus on what risks of carbon monoxide exposure there are in the world. Then we can try to minimize our production of them and reduce our likelihood of CO poisoning.
Sources of Carbon Monoxide
Carbon monoxide comes from burning fossil fuels; when there’s not enough oxygen produced to form carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide is formed as a result. Therefore, any source of combustion or burning of fuel will lead to the production of carbon monoxide in some level of concentration. For starters, CO naturally occurs in our atmosphere and is also produced by brush fires, volcanoes, forest fires, and more. Some of the manmade sources of carbon monoxide are found in the home, such as furnaces, wood fires, broken appliances, even working appliances, gas ovens, gas stove ranges, propane, kerosene, and the list goes on. Additional sources of carbon monoxide are generators, cigarette smoke, vehicles, internal combustion engines, charcoal, lawn mowers, and other devices that burn fossil fuels.
Minimizing Production and Reducing Exposure
Obviously, this list includes a lot of objects and devices with which we commonly interact, which makes it difficult to minimize our production and reduce our exposure. But there are definitely things we can do to help out. First of all, we can avoid running things that don’t need to be run. This means avoiding leaving the car running in the garage for any longer than necessary. We should refrain from using gas stoves or gas ovens for heating the home for any reason. And we should make sure to turn the furnace off when we don’t need it to be running. Additionally, we should remember to have everything carefully inspected by professionals so that it’s burning the fuel as efficiently as possible and producing as little CO as possible. Following the instructions on all fuel burning appliances in our homes will also help with the problem, as well as making sure to keep the home well ventilated so that CO is not collecting in any enclosed spaces. Reducing exposure in public places is a little more challenging as you have less control, so the carbon monoxide risks are higher. Still, if you work at or spend a lot of time at a place where there are lots of fossil fuels being burned, make sure to spend a fair amount of time in the fresh air each day to help your body replenish its hemoglobin levels and restore balance to your systems.
There are always going to be CO risks in our world, but most of us will not experience serious CO poisoning. The best we can do to deal with it is respond with preparation and be ready to handle the problem of CO poisoning if it arises.