Carbon monoxide (CO) is a tasteless, odorless and colorless gas. Carbon monoxide is present when fuel is burned in engines, furnaces and open fires. Fuels that can produce CO when burned include gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil and methane. Breathing high levels of CO causes CO poisoning, which can cause severe illness or even death is just minutes. For this reason, CO is often referred to as an invisible killer.
Although CO poisoning can almost always be prevented, every year over 400 deaths in the United State are estimated to occur as a result of accidental, non-fire related exposure to this toxic gas. Also, every year tens of thousands more people across the United States require emergency medical care for illness caused by CO poisoning. The primary risk for carbon monoxide poisoning comes from home and garage operation of gas generators and malfunctioning fuel-burning appliances such as home stoves, water heaters and space heaters. Operating such engines and appliances in a confined space can cause CO to accumulate to toxic concentrations very quickly. Tobacco smoke also contains carbon monoxide and smokers generally have higher concentrations of carbon monoxide in their bloodstream than non-smokers. Combination smoke and CO detectors can alert people to the presence of CO and save lives.
To explore carbon monoxide poisoning data, click here.
Tracking Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Louisiana
These measures were developed following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Standards for Nationally Consistent Data and Measures (NCDMs) within the Environmental Public Health Tracking Network. The purpose of NCDMs is to ensure compatibility and comparability of data and measures useful for understanding the impact of our environment on our health. The Health Data Portal contains data on the following measures for deaths, emergency department visits, and hospitalizations with a primary diagnosis of CO poisoning:
These data are grouped and presented in three unique categories based on cause of injury:
Unintentional, non-fire related
For a detailed definition of each measure, please refer to the Glossary of Terms.