What makes carbon monoxide so dangerous? • Earth.com

What makes carbon monoxide so dangerous?


Today’s Video of the Day comes thanks to the American Chemical Society’s Reactions series and takes a look at what makes carbon monoxide so dangerous.

It’s the colorless, odorless, silent killer, especially during wintertime when we turn the heat up in our homes. But why? Well, whenever you burn gasoline, kerosene, propane, or wood for heat, carbon monoxide can pose a real threat. Exposure to even the smallest amount of carbon monoxide can cause headache, nausea, or dizziness. Prolonged exposure, however, can cause you to become unconscious and even die.

In short, carbon monoxide binds to hemoglobin, preventing oxygen from binding and getting to the parts of the body where it’s most needed. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), each year, more than 400 Americans die from carbon monoxide poisoning, 20,000 visit the emergency room, and over 4,000 are hospitalized.

By Rory Arnold, Earth.com Staff Writer

Source: American Chemical Society

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