Americans spend approximately 90 percent of their lives indoors, where hazardous air pollutants can exist at higher levels than outdoors
Children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with lung disease are particularly at high risk for adverse health effects caused by indoor air pollution, including carbon monoxide.
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that is produced as a result of incomplete burning of carbon-containing fuels, such as propane, natural gas, fuel oil and wood.
Breathing low levels of carbon monoxide can cause fatigue and increase chest pain in people with chronic heart disease. Breathing higher levels of carbon monoxide causes flu-like symptoms, such as headaches, dizziness and weakness in healthy people.
Carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms include sleepiness, nausea, vomiting, confusion and disorientation. At very high levels, it causes loss of consciousness and death. Nearly 300 people a year die from carbon monoxide poisioning.
Any fuel-burning appliance that is not adequately vented and maintained can be a potential source of carbon monoxide poisoning, including furnaces, ranges, ovens, water heaters, clothes dryers, fireplaces, space heaters, coal and wood burning stoves, charcoal grills, automobile exhaust, camp stoves and gas-powered small engines. Cigarette smoke also contains carbon monoxide in high levels along with other toxic gases.
To prevent carbon monoxide poisioning: