Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas. You find it in the exhaust fumes of petrol engines. It is also found in your blood if you smoke.
"They appeared to be unaware of the dangers of carbon monoxide". Dumitru Secrieru, police colonel, on the Romanian soccer star Mario Bugeanu and girl friend, who died after having sex in a garage with the car engine running. The Independent 27th March 1999
Carbon monoxide displaces oxygen from your blood. Your blood has an affinity for carbon monoxide 300 times that for oxygen.
The carbon monoxide level in a non-smoker's breath is about 5 parts per million. The level found in that of smokers can be 10 - 20 times this.
Carbon monoxide used to be in town (coal) gas. It is not present in North Sea gas nor in diesel fumes. It is a component of the fumes from poorly ventilated gas or coke stoves.
Carbon monoxide is measured using a Bedfont Smokerlyser. Blowing into the machine through a cardboard tube until there is no more breath left ensures that your last puff is captured for analysis. This last puff is in equilibrium with your blood.
Figures for Great Britain in 1996/7 indicate that 21 people died and a further 90 suffered ill-health as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning.(402, 403) To prevent this, it is important to have a carbon monoxide detector at home as well as a smoke detector for overall safety.
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