One of our readers wrote in recently to ask if a household could get poisoned by carbon monoxide coming out of their water supply (well water). We had to think about that one for a minute… and then do a little research.
Thus far we have not found any evidence to support the hypothesis that well water could, or would, emit carbon monoxide and ‘poison’ anyone.
We did, however, find a really depressing article about several volunteer firemen who died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning they got while trying to remove a dead animal from a well in Pennsylvania. Read the story on the CDC Web Site… if you want to get depressed. 🙁
Just so that no one can say we blow up the significance of one tragic event to make a point, read this story about two people and a dog that officials believe died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning that came out of Connecticut recently (November 2, 2010).
So what IS carbon monoxide and why does it poison us?
Technically speaking, carbon monoxide consists of one carbon atom and one oxygen molecule — resulting in a compound with a serious liking and lust for hemoglobin. For those who don’t know, hemoglobin acts as the primary oxygen carrying compound in the human body and if it has become entangled with carbon monoxide by forming a carboxyhemoglobin molecule, well, the hemoglobin no longer has the ability to transport oxygen to the cells and the body goes without oxygen… which means the person exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide will get lightheaded and eventually pass out if they don’t take action (move out of the gas!) immediately.
If not removed from the carbon monoxide rich environment in time and given proper treatment, the person will eventually die.
Where does carbon monoxide come from, if not from well water?
As a general rule, “Carbon monoxide is a product of combustion of organic matter under conditions of restricted oxygen supply, which prevents complete oxidation to carbon dioxide (CO2). Sources of carbon monoxide include house fires, faulty furnaces, heaters, wood-burning stoves, internal combustion vehicle exhaust, electrical generators, propane-fueled equipment such as portable stoves, and gasoline-powered tools such as leaf blowers, lawn mowers, high-pressure washers, concrete cutting saws, power trowels, and welders.” ( source )
What should you take away from that definition? Simple: If you have anything burning, make sure you have ample ventilation to remove the fumes generated by the combustion (burning) process.
Detecting carbon monoxide?
In the past people had to rely upon things like… birds to tell them when levels of methane or other potentially dangerous gases had built up in a confined area. How did that work? The birds passed out and/or died when levels of dangerous gases got high enough to knock them out, but not (yet) high enough to cause serious harm to the people around them.
Moral of that story? “When Tweety stops singin’, it’s time to get out!!!”
These days, however, people have several choices available to them if they want to monitor levels of carbon monoxide gas in their homes, workshops, etc. Between personal badges, electronic meters and wall-mounted detectors, pretty much no one has any reason to suffer the ill effects of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Looking for a way to keep your company’s name and contact information in front of your customer base? If so, we may have found the perfect solution!
You should consider investing in custom imprinted carbon monoxide badges! Unlike most tradeshow giveaway items, promotional mailer items or reminders you can leave behind for your customers, carbon monoxide detection badges more than likely will get used AND keep your company’s name constantly displayed in a prominent places at your customers’ homes or places of business.
Think of it this way: Have you ever heard of a cool looking writing pen, stress ball, bookmark, drink koozie, ruler, miniature notepad, or other (more or less useless) item saving any of your customers’ lives? We haven’t, either.
- Each and every detector you had out could potentially save a life by alerting people to the presence of carbon monoxide gas.
- Individual detectors measure 2¼” x 2¼” and contain only non-toxic materials.
- A convenient adhesive strip on the back of each detector allows for quick mounting on pretty much any surface.
- Detectors have a 2 to 3 year shelf-life, as long as they remain in an unopened state, and once opened each detector works for a period of 90 days.
- The detection area will change orange-red to red-brown in color and then to gray-black as the concentration of carbon monoxide increases around it.