Raub, James A., Monique Mathieu-Nolf, Neil B. Hampson, and Stephen R. Thom. “Carbon monoxide poisoning — a public health perspective.” Toxicology: 145(1): 1-14. Accessed 04th April 2013.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning — A Public Health Perspective

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Firstly, let’s talk about what is carbon monoxide. It is a highly toxic gas and is odourless, colourless, taste-less and also does not irritate any part of the human body. Basically, detecting carbon monoxide is more or less, futile. In my opinion, I would refer to CO as…*dum dum dummmmm* THE SILENT KILLER! Carbon monoxide (CO) is produced when there is not enough oxygen available for fuel or gas to react fully in order to create organic matter such as carbon dioxide and water as the end result. This lack in oxygen is called incomplete combustion. In this present state of the world that we live in, almost everything runs on fuel, all of which may act as sources of production of this life-threatening emission. Not only is carbon monoxide most popularly known to deteriorate the ozone layer, it is also known as one of the world’s deadliest gas. Over-exposure of CO to humans can be blamed to the improper waste disposal by the sources of this Carbon monoxide gas.


There are numerous sources of carbon monoxide, here are some to name a few:

  •           Gas heaters
  •           Wood and gas stoves
  •           Fireplaces
  •           Electricity generators
  •           Factory machinery
  •           And, of course, the most popular of them all; automobile exhaust

carbon-monoxide-poisoning  exhaust-gas-carbon-monoxide-safety

In this article, the authors James, Monique, Neil and Stephen, investigated the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning in individuals. Their theory was that CO was the merciless suspect behind most of the fatal poisoning occurrences around the world. From their research, it was noted that many of the fatal and drastic cases of this type of poisoning was not reported and perhaps misdiagnosed by doctors and health authorities where, as a result, James, Monique, Neil and Stephen could not derive upon an exact number of CO poisoning deaths or cases that may have occurred. Symptoms related to the exposure of CO can as so much range from mild headaches and delicate cardiovascular as well as neurobehavioral effects as a result of low concentrations of CO to much higher concentrations which can result in unconsciousness or even death due to chronic or acute exposure to such concentrations.


They noticed that the signs and symptoms as well as the diagnosis of carbon monoxide poisoning contributes to the weak association with carboxyheamoglobin (COHb) levels distinguished when the individual was admitted into the hospital. But, however, due to the fact that CO poisoning is a diagnosis that is usually ignored; these authors realised that the significance of measuring levels of COHb in conspicuous settings cannot be bypassed.

Some of the consequences/symptoms of CO intoxication and by extension, CO poisoning, are headaches, dizziness, nausea, disorientation, visual confusion as well as weakness can occur regularly. These authors learned that death, as a result of CO poisoning are mostly related to cardiac complications. They arrived to this conclusion as they noted that myocardial tissues (cardiac muscle) are extremely sensitive to the hypoxic effects of CO. This means that the heart reacts to the loss of oxygen in the body that is caused by carbon monoxide intoxication.

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They, the authors, discovered that a serious case of CO poisoning can induce hypotension, lethal arrhythmias as well as electrocardiographic changes (heart disturbances) and pulmonary edema. This is fluid accommodation in the air spaces of the lungs. Acute CO poisoning can also disrupt the neurological system as it is disrupted causing some disorientations in vision, confusion and coma. The authors figured that the most deceptive and disruptive effect of CO poisoning may be the growth of late neuropsychiatric impairment within as low as 2 days to as late as 28 days after the initiation of the poisoning and the slow resolution of neurobehavioral consequences.

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Carbon monoxide poisoning was also studied during the period of pregnancy. This is very dangerous on behalf of the mother as it increases the risk for complications to arise and can also result in fetal death.

It is then understood that carbon monoxide poisoning is not an unusual misfortune as it can happen to anyone who has intoxicated severe amounts and can occur frequently. It also has various consequences and with extreme amounts, can lead to death.


Carbon_Monoxide_3DayFull CO levels around the world!!

I had fun doing this review; I actually did this in a lot less time than I had hoped. I was always interested in this topic of carbon monoxide poisoning as I was told about it a few years ago and never really knew much about it. On doing this review, I have now fully understood why it is considered a poison when it is intoxicated an also what makes it a poison. I feel that relief now that both of my published paper reviews are completed. It’s like a big weight has been lifted off my shoulders. THANK YOU GOD!!!!

Happy danceeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😀 


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