Incidence and Prevalence

The dangers of Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is a colourless and odourless gas formed through incomplete combustion of fuels, resulting in one molecule of carbon and oxygen.

Carbon monoxide can be found in any environment whenever a material burns. Various fuel-burning appliances and engines create Carbon monoxide. The amount of carbon monoxide produced by these sources usually isn’t a cause for concern. If they’re used in an enclosed or partially enclosed/confined space, for example, a faulty boiler in a small out-shed with poor ventilation, the carbon monoxide can build to dangerous levels. In a home environment, examples of Carbon monoxide producing products/areas can include:

  • Furnaces or boilers
  • Fireplaces, both gas and wood-burning
  • Gas stoves and ovens
  • Motor vehicles
  • Grills, generators, power tools, lawn equipment
  • Wood stoves
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Water heaters

Examples for outdoor Carbon monoxide producing products/areas can include:

  • Camp stoves
  • Charcoal grills
  • Fuel-burning lanterns
  • Portable generators near open doors and windows

Approximately 60 people die per year in England and Wales due to Carbon monoxide poisoning.