MUST READ: CO Fact Sheet

Rob Bailis, RAEL, UC Berkeley June 2003

CO Fact Sheet in Power Point

Complete combustion of fuels yields only CO2 and water vapor, but when fuels are
burned in non-ideal conditions, other compounds are emitted. These compounds are
called products of incomplete combustion (PICs), and include carbon monoxide (CO),
methane (CH4) and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as well as particulate
matter (PM). CO is the most prevalent PIC. The effect of high levels of exposure to it can be lethal, but even low levels of exposure can have harmful effects

CO diffuses rapidly blood vessel membranes.

  • Once it’s present in the bloodstream, CO binds to hemoglobin 200 times more readily than oxygen. This forms carboxy-hemoglobin (COHb).
  • COHb reduces the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood and impairs the release of oxygen from hemoglobin…The neurobehavioral effects include impaired coordination, tracking, and driving ability. Cognitive performance is impaired at COHb levels as low as 5%.
  • During exposure to a fixed concentration of CO, the COHb concentration increases rapidly at the onset of exposure (see graph below). This levels off after about three hours, and reaches steady state after 6 – 8 hours of exposure (see graph below).
  • Headache, nausea and loss of consciousness occur at COHb levels of 25-40%.
  • Permanent brain damage and death follow if COHb levels exceed 45%.

Air Max 270 Men

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