Generally, the concentration unit of carbon monoxide is ppm, which is parts per million. As the title mentions, a carbon monoxide concentration of 10 ppm, a concentration of 10 parts per million, will make people feel very low and not threatening, but it is not true. Data shows that when a person is exposed to a carbon monoxide concentration of 10ppm for 8 hours, the probability of heart disease increases. Therefore, do not underestimate any concentration of carbon monoxide, even one part per million.
Outdoor carbon monoxide concentration
Outdoor carbon monoxide concentrations generally vary from place to place and are mainly affected by the type of regional and national development. In general, outdoor carbon monoxide concentrations are higher in developed countries than in developing countries, and higher in cities than in rural areas. For example, the outdoor carbon monoxide concentration in the countryside is 0.03~2.5ppm, while the outdoor carbon monoxide concentration in the UK where heavy industry is more developed is 20~30ppm.
Indoor carbon monoxide concentration
9 ppm is the world accepted 8 hour indoor carbon monoxide safe level. If you turn on gas equipment such as heaters and boilers at home, and the indoor space is small, the indoor space is more airtight than the outdoors, so high concentrations of carbon monoxide will be generated in a short time. The following are the main sources of carbon monoxide indoors:
Gas stoves: 5~15ppm
Cigarettes: 20 ppm
Water heater: 1600ppm
In particular, cigarettes are mentioned here. The gas in cigarettes is directly inhaled into the lungs of the human body, which means that the smoker has a carbon monoxide concentration of 20 ppm in the body. Although it is not fatal, if you continue to smoke for a day, the concentration of carbon monoxide in the body will be higher, more likely to cause dizziness, weakness and even more serious consequences. Other high concentrations of carbon monoxide produced in kitchens and water heaters can be led to the outdoors through special chimney pipes, and when barbecues are carried out outdoors, high concentrations of carbon monoxide will be diluted by a large amount of surrounding oxygen.
What level of carbon monoxide concentration is harmful to the human body
The effect of carbon monoxide on the human body depends on the concentration of surrounding carbon monoxide and the exposure time of the person at this concentration, and it is also related to the person’s own physical condition. The health effects of exposure to carbon monoxide levels of about 1 to 70 ppm are uncertain, but most people do not experience any symptoms, according to data. Some people with heart disease may experience increased chest pain. Symptoms may become more pronounced (headache, fatigue, nausea) as CO levels rise and remain above 70 ppm. Disorientation, unconsciousness, and death can occur when CO levels increase above 150 to 200 ppm.
How long does it take to get carbon monoxide poisoning
Carbon monoxide poisoning is mainly related to concentration and time. The higher the carbon monoxide concentration, the shorter the poisoning time. Common concentrations are mainly divided into 5 grades:
50 ppm: None for healthy adults, this is the maximum allowable concentration for continuous exposure for healthy adults in any eight-hour period.
200 ppm: Slight headache, fatigue, dizziness, and nausea after two to three hours.
400 ppm: Frontal headaches with one to two hours. Life threatening after three hours.
800 ppm: Dizziness, nausea, and convulsions within 45 minutes. Unconsciousness within two hours. Death within two to three hours.
1600 ppm: Headache, dizziness and nausea within 20 minutes. Death within one hour.
Main source of carbon monoxide in the home
Unvented kerosene and gas space heaters
Blockage of chimneys and furnaces
Cook with charcoal or gas grill
Gas appliances (stove, stove, oven, water heater, clothes dryer, etc.)
Generators and other gasoline powered equipment
Worn or improperly maintained combustion units
How to protect your family from carbon monoxide poisoning
1. Regular maintenance of equipment and ventilation
For those who have gas equipment at home, for safety reasons, it is necessary to maintain and inspect the equipment regularly, usually once every six months. In addition, duct ventilation is also important, because blocked ducts can easily lead to the accumulation of carbon monoxide. The following are signs that carbon monoxide may be present:
- Soot streaks around fuel-burning appliances, or no upward airflow in soot chimneys in fireplaces
- Excessive moisture and condensation on windows, walls and cold surfaces
- The flue or electrical jack is rusted
- Orange or yellow flame in burning appliance (flame should be blue)
- Damaged or discolored bricks at the top of the chimney
2. Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning
It can be preliminarily judged whether it is carbon monoxide poisoning by observing the facial features of people or some abnormal phenomena. For example, paleness, dizziness, drowsiness, difficulty breathing, unsteady walking and the possibility of falling down at any time, etc. These symptoms can be preliminarily determined that the person must be abnormal. If you see that the surrounding air is not smooth, or gas equipment is being used , you should take him outside immediately and call 911.
3. Install a carbon monoxide alarm
Installing a carbon monoxide alarm is the most effective way to detect dangerous concentrations of carbon monoxide in the air. Most carbon monoxide alarms will issue an alarm after monitoring the presence of carbon monoxide with a concentration of more than 50ppm in the surrounding area, because the concentration of carbon monoxide generated by many gas appliances in the home is mostly about 30ppm. Therefore, 50ppm is set as an alarm range for a threat to the human body. In Scotland, the United Kingdom, almost every household is required to install detectors and must pass the latest EN standards. It has been confirmed that the incidence of fires and carbon monoxide poisoning in the United Kingdom has been significantly reduced in recent years.