Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless flammable gas that is slightly less dense than air. It is toxic to animals that use hemoglobin as an oxygen carrier when encountered in concentrations above about 35 ppm, although it is also produced in normal animal metabolism in low quantities, and is thought to have some normal biological functions. In the atmosphere, it is spatially variable and short-lived, having a role in the formation of ground-level ozone.
CO is found in fumes produced any time you burn fuel in cars or trucks, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, or furnaces. CO can build up indoors and poison people and animals who breathe it.
Exposure to carbon monoxide impedes the blood’s ability to carry oxygen to body tissues and vital organs. When carbon monoxide is inhaled, it combines with hemoglobin (an iron-protein component of red blood cells), producing carboxyhemoglobin (COHb), which greatly diminishes hemoglobin’s oxygen-carrying capacity. Hemoglobin’s binding affinity for carbon monoxide is 300 times greater than its affinity for oxygen. As a result, small amounts of carbon monoxide can dramatically reduce hemoglobin’s ability to transport oxygen. Common symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure are headache, nausea, rapid breathing, weakness, exhaustion, dizziness, and confusion. Hypoxia (severe oxygen deficiency) due to acute carbon monoxide poisoning may result in reversible neurological effects, or it may result in long-term (and possibly delayed) irreversible neurological (brain damage) or cardiological (heart damage) effects.
Permissible Exposure Limits(PEL) is the level of exposure established as the highest level of exposure an employee may be exposed to without incurring the risk of adverse health effects over an 8-hour period.
OSHA PEL(Permissible Exposure Limit) – TWA 50 ppm (55 mg/m3)
NIOSH REL(Recommended Exposure Limit) -TWA 35 ppm (40 mg/m3) C 200 ppm (229 mg/m3)
This course will cover the basics of Carbon Monoxide, Exposure Risks and Prevention