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Carbon Monoxide: The Invisible Assassin

     Carbon Monoxide is an oxide of Carbon produced when there is an incomplete burning of Carbon or its compounds. It should be known that Carbon Monoxide (CO) is different from Carbondioxide (CO2).

    We all are familiar with Carbon Dioxide because it is what we are in contact with daily; We breathe it out, and there is no way any human can survive without breathing out the gas. In line with this, Carbon Dioxide is harmless, or at least, present in a concentration that is harmless to humans.

  On the other hand, Carbon Monoxide, the subject of today, is the opposite. It is a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas. Now, this tripartite nature poses a great danger to the health of whoever is inhaling or in contact with the gas. This would be talked about later in this post.

 The weight of danger of the gas is so great that it is capable of causing death to its victims, even if the gas is inhaled only for a brief period of time. Yearly, there is quite a good number of people that died from the disease. 

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    Usually, its victims are not aware that they are inhaling a poison, neither are they aware that they are slowly dying. A group of people may simply gather to have fun, pray or work together in an atmosphere that is badly covered with the poisonous gas, but do not know this. In a couple of minutes, they find themselves being dizzy, weak, unconscious and with pounding headache – and that is the end! If help does not reach them as a matter of urgency, they will die.

So, how is the gas produced?

How Carbon Monoxide is produced

Majority of CO produced each time a mass is burnt increases from Gas to Solid. This is one of the dangers faced by production companies. Many of these companies later release the gas into the atmosphere.

CO occurs in traces as an impurity in the atmosphere. The percentage present may be higher in cities where the gas is released in the exhaust fumes of motor cars, and in industrial areas due to the combustion of fuels.
    As little as 0.5% of it in the ar may cause a person to die. Since the gas has no colour or odour, its presence is difficult to detect, so it is very dangerous.

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Sources of Carbon Monoxide

Incomplete burning of Fuels like Petrol, Kerosene, Gas, etc.
   This leads us to a major cause of the deaths in the world today: Generator. Because of the pressurer today for electricity, generators are not an important aspect of living, especially in less developed countries with unstable power.
   Sadly, Generators have their downside. Among others, they produce this poisonous CO. Many people have lost their lives because of inadvertently consuming CO from their generating set.

The solution to this is to site generating sets far away, at a reasonable distance, from residential areas. It could kill an entire community in one night if uncontrolled. Therefore, machines that bring out CO would be sited far away.

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How Carbon Monoxide Kills

 CO combines with the Haemoglobin in the red blood cells to form a stable compound. This stable compound prevents the Haemoglobin from transporting oxygen in our body. A person will die from lack of oxygen when one-third of the haemoglobin in the body is combined with Carbon Monoxide.
The Red Blood Cell transports Oxygen round the body of an organism. There is a constant supply of oxygen throughout a lifetime; that is why breathing and gaseous exchange is constant. But now, the poisonous Carbon Monoxide loves the red pigment which is responsible for transporting the oxygen our body cells need, in the blood, and therefore reacts with it. Therefore, the red pigment loses the ability to transport oxygen.
   Now tell me, how is life without oxygen? Impossible, right? Fan you live without oxygen? Never – not even with Di Nitrogen (I) Oxide. Therefore, the victim dies without knowing what has happened. It is only the prompt intervention of a Medical personnel, that can save the life.