Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

The New Jersey Poison Information & Education System

Serving New Jersey Since 1983
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Can Kill

(Newark, NJ)- As the season changes and the weather becomes colder, extreme caution is urged when using sources of carbon monoxide such as unvented kerosene and gas space heaters, gas water heaters, wood stoves, leaking chimneys and furnaces, fireplaces and gas stoves. Other common sources are automobile exhaust from attached or unvented garages and “patched” vent pipes using tape, gum or other substances. A young adult escaped a deadly situation, after being found unconscious, from Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning. Although the family’s carbon monoxide detector alerted them to potentially dangerous levels of carbon monoxide in their home for several days, they simply reset their alarm over and over again thinking it was malfunctioning. Since carbon monoxide is both colorless and odorless, this family was unaware that their lives were in grave danger. Only after the young adult was unable to be awakened did they realize that something was terribly wrong. Carbon monoxide is an odorless and colorless gas that can deprive the body of oxygen, the New Jersey Poison Information and Education System (NJPIES) encourages everyone to install carbon monoxide detectors in his or her home. Exposure can produce headaches, sleepiness, fatigue, confusion and irritability at low levels. At higher levels, it can result in nausea, vomiting, irregular heartbeat, impaired vision and coordination, and death.

Life-Saving Tips
  • Open flues when fireplaces are in use
  • Chimneys should be inspected and cleaned annually
  • DO NOT idle the car inside the garage
  • Use the correct fuel in kerosene heaters
  • NEVER use charcoal indoors or in areas with inadequate ventilation
  • Have a trained professional inspect, clean and tune-up central heating systems like the furnace every year.
  • Gas appliances must have adequate ventilation so that carbon monoxide will not accumulate
Remember, Help Is Just A Phone Call Away!

If you suspect a poisoning, call the poison control center for immediate treatment advice as well as for prevention information. Call 1-800-222-1222, trained medical professionals will provide you with the most up to date emergency treatment advice, and will answer any drug or poison information question you may have.

        More information can be found at New Jersey Department of Health website.