PROPERTIES OF CARBON MONOXIDE


Carbon monoxide (chemical label CO) is a gas composed of a carbon atom and an oxygen atom, a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas, lighter than air. It has strong cytotoxicity for living beings, because it belongs to the group of chemical asphyxiants and largest pollutants.

About 50% of poisonings in the world belongs to poisoning by this gas. Formed during incomplete oxidation of organic matter. The exhaust gases of internal combustion engines are one of the biggest polluters of the atmosphere (with 1-14 vol%) is followed by the exhaust gases generated during the production of iron and gases from combustion of coal in power plants and in the production process in oil refineries and chemical the industry.

Carbon monoxide, inserted into the body (by inhaled air in the lungs) causes overall hypoxia of the body (oxygen starvation ) because it has a strong affinity for hemoglobin of red blood cells. Expelling oxygen from the red blood cell receptors it forms an irreversible connection in them (creating carbonyl compounds), which limits the transport and utilization of oxygen in the tissues.

Its toxic effect occurs very rapidly, even at extremely low concentrations. Lethal dose for humans is 1000-2000 ppm (0.1-0.2%) upon inhalation of gas for 30 minutes. At high concentration of carbon monoxide in the inhaled air, death can occur in a period of 1-2 minutes.

The maximum permissible dose of carbon monoxide in the industry is 50 ppm (0.005%) for exposure to 8 hours. The following table shows the levels of CO and its health effects:

  2 minutes 5 minutes 15 minutes 40 minutes 120 minutes
200 PPM         Headache
400 PPM       Headache Dizziness
800 PPM     Headache Dizziness Death
1600 PPM   Headache Dizziness Death  
3200 PPM Headache Dizziness Death    
6400 PPM Dizziness Death      
12800 PPM Unconsciousness        
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