Carbon Monoxide Meaning

What is Carbon Monoxide:

Carbon monoxide (chemical formula CO) is a colorless and toxic gas that is generated after the combustion of compounds such as wood, gasoline, oil, coal, tobacco or kerosene under inappropriate conditions.

It is a flammable gas, whose boiling point is reached at -191 ° C and melting at -205 ° C. It is considered a stable chemical compound but burns in the presence of oxygen, in which case it generates carbon dioxide.

In 1776, the French chemist Joseph Marie François de Lassone discovered carbon monoxide during an experiment. However, he mistook it for hydrogen. Almost 30 years later, British chemist William Cumberland confirmed the finding by detecting the presence of carbon and oxygen in the compound.

In 1846, the French doctor Claude Bernard deepened the studies related to the toxicity of carbon monoxide, as well as possible routes of treatment with oxygen therapy.

Carbon Monoxide Effects

Carbon monoxide has an affinity for hemoglobin 220 times higher than oxygen. When high concentrations of CO are breathed in, it mixes with the blood and generates carboxyhemoglobin, a chemical byproduct that prevents oxygen from reaching tissues and organs. If it is not treated in time, it can cause death.

Carbon monoxide has no odor, color, or taste. Its inhalation does not generate external symptoms, such as irritation in the mucous membranes or cough, hence it is very difficult to detect an intoxication of this type in time.

However, there are some red flags that may indicate carbon monoxide inhalation poisoning. Carbon monoxide is emitted from fireplaces, gas ranges, gasoline-powered generators, furnaces, exhaust pipes, wood, gas, or coal stoves.

If a person develops symptoms such as headache, dizziness, nausea, or confusion after a prolonged stay in a closed place where any of the aforementioned artifacts are found, they may have inhaled large amounts of CO, so attention is recommended urgent medical treatment to apply the corresponding treatment.

See also Carbon cycle

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