Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that all around us on a daily basis and exists in various objects and in the air we breathe. Unfortunately, carbon monoxide is capable of causing rapid illness and death for individuals breathing within an enclosed or semi-enclosed space where CO has built up. Carbon monoxide commonly exists in combustion fumes produced by cars and trucks, stoves, small gasoline engines, lanterns, burning charcoal and wood, and heating systems and gas ranges. Unless ventilation is lacking or a product is defective, this carbon monoxide presence should be harmless.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 400 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning every year with fatalities the highest amongst individuals that are 65 years of age and older. In addition, over 20,000 Americans go to the emergency room and over 4,000 are hospitalized due to carbon monoxide poisoning.
Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Considered one of the most frequently seen forms of fatal air poisoning nationwide, carbon monoxide poisoning can be extremely difficult to identify. Symptoms of CO poisoning are difficult to identify because they can mimic other illnesses, causing afflicted individuals to possibly brush-off their pain or discomfort as something minor. The other challenge of recognizing carbon monoxide poisoning is that individuals who are afflicted and are sleeping may die even before noticing any symptoms.
In order to help prevent you and your family from suffering CO poisoning, here is a list of common symptoms:
- Chest pain
- Loss of consciousness
Large quantities of CO in the air within a confined space can lead to the likelihood of a person’s body replacing oxygen in the blood with carbon monoxide. When a significant amount of carbon monoxide is inhaled into a person’s lungs, the required amount of oxygen is prevented from getting into the body and there is a tremendous lack of oxygen in the blood (anoxemia).
Help Prevent CO Poisoning
The use of functioning carbon monoxide detectors is one of the best ways to help protect you and your family from CO poisoning. Even with all of the risks and dangers of toxic exposure in plain view, only six states (Massachusetts, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin) require these detectors to be in every household.
However, in Maryland, Baltimore County has recently taken steps to initiate legislation that will require all rental dwellings to have carbon monoxide detectors. Considering that Baltimore County is expected to have over 1,400 carbon monoxide incidents in 2009, the passing of this legislation is significant. In addition, Congress is considering legislation as well that would require all carbon monoxide detectors to adhere to specific standards and would distribute millions of dollars to educate the public about the life-saving value of CO detectors.
Who is Responsible for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
Some of the most common causes of CO poisoning illness and death are due to some form of negligence. Manufacturers of carbon monoxide detectors, furnaces, room heaters, portable generators, or room heaters who fail to create a product that functions properly may be held liable if their defective product causes carbon monoxide illness or death.
If you have suffered illness or injury from carbon monoxide exposure, you may be able to seek compensation from negligent parties to help pay for your pain and suffering, medical expenses, and other financial losses and expenses associated with your illness or injury. In the event that your family has lost a loved one due to carbon monoxide poisoning at the fault of a negligent manufacturer or another individual, you may qualify to obtain damages for loss of companionship, funeral expenses, loss of wages, and other forms of monetary compensation.
In order to successfully hold negligent parties accountable for having caused you or a loved one to suffer carbon monoxide poisoning in the state of Maryland, your best course of action is to retain the services of a skilled injury attorney who has experience in product liability and personal injury litigation. Steven H. Heisler has dedicated many years to helping injury victims and surviving family members of wrongful death victims receive the compensation that they deserve. Call Steven H. Heisler, “The Injury Lawyer,” today for a free consultation of your potential case.