Tracking Carbon Monoxide in Vermont
Carbon monoxide, or CO, is an odorless, colorless gas that is given off whenever fossil fuels are burned. Carbon monoxide is a poison, even at low levels, while carbon dioxide (CO2) is a normal part of the breathing process. Breathing high levels of CO can cause severe illness or death in a matter of minutes.
Every year in the U.S. more than 4,000 people are hospitalized and more than 400 die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning. In Vermont, winter is an especially risky time for carbon monoxide poisoning when buildings are closed and fossil fuels are burned for heat. Improper generator use during and after storms when the power goes out is also a risk for carbon monoxide poisoning.