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Carbon Monoxide Risk Increases in Winter

Shannon C. Carey - SiebenCarey "Know Your Rights" AttorneyFebruary 27, 2013

Carbon Monoxide Risk Increases in Winter

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) every year approximately 20,000 Americans end up in the emergency room because of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.  CO is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that can cause severe injury or death.  The gas is generated by a variety of everyday products, including but not limited to, gas furnaces, water heaters, wood-burning stoves, fireplaces, cars, charcoal grills, portable generators and power washers.  The risk of CO poisoning increases in the winter when houses are tightly closed to keep out the cold.  When CO poisoning occurs, it's absorbed into the body's bloodstream through breathing the toxic gas into the lungs and the oxygen that's normally in the blood is replaced with CO.  Initial symptoms of low to moderate CO poisoning include headaches, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea and dizziness.  The symptoms can be more severe if there is a high level of CO poisoning. 
 
To reduce your risk of CO poisoning it is important to ensure all of your appliances are in proper working condition and have your fuel-based appliances inspected annually by a qualified technician.  If you have a wood-burning fireplace be sure to have it swept on a regular basis to keep it properly ventilated.  Never use generators or camp stoves or any other portable fuel burning devices inside the home and never use a gas oven to heat your home.  Lastly, and most importantly purchase a CO detector to alert you to unsafe levels of this gas in your home.  Many of these detectors can be purchased for under $50 at several of your local retailers.
 
For additional information on CO, its potential risks, and additional safety precautions, please visit:
 
www.cdc.gov/cdctv/environmentalhealth/quiet-killer-carbon-monoxide.html
 
http://www.epa.gov/iaq/co.html
 
If you or someone you care about has been seriously injured from CO poisoning caused by a third party, please do not hesitate to contact me at 612-333-9712 to discuss your potential claim.

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