Is the air quality in your home hurting your family?
A colourless, odourless, tasteless gas, carbon monoxide (CO) is a waste product that forms when burning (or combustion) is incomplete. Carbon monoxide is the single leading cause of death by poisoning indoors. A high-risk group is teenage boys, who may be tinkering (or watching someone else tinker) with idling engines - cars, motorcycles, lawn mowers - in a closed garage. But you don`t have to be fooling around with a motor in the garage to be at risk. Any attached garage is a holding tank for toxic fume build-up. Most of the time you keep the door closed, which means there`s very little ventilation.
Toxic pollutants from engines as well as stored cleaning solutions or paints accumulate in these conditions. When you open the door from the garage into the house, a chemical cloud wafts in with you. Give the garage a regular airing-out by leaving the door open for several hours and store chemical cleansers and paints in a detached shed, if possible.
Other sources of carbon monoxide include gas stoves and ranges, wood-heated stoves, kerosene space heaters chimneys and furnaces that are not well maintained. Symptoms of CO poisoning can be deceptive: It`s mainly headache and vague symptoms - drowsiness, lethargy, and general flu-like symptoms.
To protect yourself and your family, keep your appliances in good working order. Every now and then, have your furnace checked and your chimney cleaned (dead leaves, small branches, abandoned bird nests, and creosote - a residue of burning wood - can block the shaft and allow carbon monoxide into your house).