Hiding beneath our vehicles, our exhaust systems keep a low profile, but they are extremely important. They funnel away the dangerous gases produced during engine combustion. A broken exhaust system poses extreme danger because it releases carbon monoxide (CO) - an odorless, tasteless, highly toxic gas - which can travel into the passenger area and cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Why should you care? CO poisoning can be debilitating or even deadly.
You may not think much of a furnace that groans or occasionally belches some exhaust, but what if it's leaking extremely toxic gas that you can't see, smell, or taste into your house? It's possible, and you should beware.
In the early 1900s, miners carried canary birds into the mines with them as poison testers. At the time, no available instruments could detect carbon monoxide (CO) - a lethal, tasteless, odorless, invisible, flammable gas. However, if the canary stopped singing or perished from CO exposure, miners knew to evacuate. Canaries have since become ingrained in mining culture, even though more sophisticated technology has replaced them as CO detectors. Unfortunately, the same threat of CO in the workplace remains.
We know that one bite from a cobra can kill since its venom is toxic to humans. But did you know that a one-time exposure to the poisonous gas carbon monoxide can do the same thing? Scariest of all: we only see cobras at the zoo, but carbon monoxide is around us every day, and you can't even tell.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a dangerous and extremely toxic gas that you cannot see, smell, or taste. When someone gets CO poisoning, the CO binds to the hemoglobin in the blood and prevents oxygen from being distributed to the body. Hypoxia is the result, and it can cause organ failure, permanent brain damage, and even death.
We measure length with a ruler, weight with a scale, and temperature with a thermometer, but how do you measure for the colorless, odorless, tasteless, and extremely toxic gas - carbon monoxide?
In toxicology, dosage determines the case. In the same way, the severity of a carbon monoxide poisoning depends primarily on a person's exposure to it - the higher the dosage, the worse the poisoning.