12, Apr 2024
Carbon Monoxide Vs Carbon Dioxide

Carbon monoxide vs carbon dioxide and carbon dioxide are two common, odorless gases. Both are a byproduct of human respiration, but they have very different effects on humans when exposed to elevated levels. Carbon monoxide, abbreviated CO, poisons people by binding to hemoglobin and inhibiting the blood’s ability to transport oxygen to cells. Carbon dioxide, on the other hand, is harmless in small amounts and is a normal part of our bodies’ oxygen-rich bloodstream.

CO is produced by the incomplete combustion of fuels such as gasoline, coal, wood propane or any other fossil fuel. It is also a natural byproduct of animal and plant respiration and decomposition. Because it has no odor, taste or color, dangerous concentrations of CO can build up indoors without being detected. CO poisoning can lead to brain damage, heart disease, respiratory failure and in severe cases, unconsciousness or death.

Carbon Monoxide vs. Carbon Dioxide: Knowing the Difference Could Save Your Life

Symptoms of CO poisoning include a headache with throbbing temples and lethargy. As CO levels increase, irritability and confusion set in, as well as chest pain and difficulty breathing. People with medical conditions such as coronary heart disease, angina and asthma are more susceptible to the harmful effects of carbon monoxide because they have problems getting enough oxygen into their hearts and brains. Pregnant women are also at risk because carbon monoxide reduces the amount of oxygen that reaches the unborn baby. Carbon dioxide, on the other hand, has one carbon and two oxygen atoms and undergoes no oxidation reactions, making it non-flammable.

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