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Many people are killed each year, and many more suffer ill health from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. CO is an invisible, odourless, tasteless and extremely toxic gas. It is produced by appliances and vehicles burning fuels, such as coal, oil, natural/bottled gas, paraffin, wood, petrol, diesel, charcoal etc. CO is absorbed by red blood cells in the lungs in preference to oxygen resulting in rapid damage to the heart and brain from oxygen starvation.
Carbon monoxide gas is a simple molecule: one part carbon and one part oxygen. Carbon monoxide comes when carbon fuel—like wood, gasoline, coal, propane, natural gas, and heating oil—fails to burn completely. These energy sources aren’t dangerous when you burn them in an open area with plenty of ventilation. But carbon monoxide is hazardous in confined spaces—like basements, kitchens, garages, or campers. Carbon monoxide is hard to detect without a sensor, which is one of the reasons it’s so dangerous.