Two people die here each year as a result of exposure to 'silent killer'
Published 20/12/2011 | 05:00
AN average of two people a year die in Ireland from home-heating related carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. The gas is commonly known as the "silent killer".
Deaths from domestic accidents around the world are considered common but easily preventable.
Its presence in the home, however, is impossible for people to detect without CO alarms -- the gas has no smell, taste or colour.
While the majority of fatalities result from inhaling smoke from fires, CO alarms can save lives by monitoring and registering a dangerous build-up of the gas from defective appliances.
However, the most important preventative measure is a regular inspection and service of appliances as well as vents, flues and chimneys.
Carbon monoxide is produced when there is a lack of oxygen when fossil fuels -- either gas, oil or coal -- burn. Then, instead of harmless carbon dioxide, the "silent killer" gas is created.
When inhaled by humans it prevents oxygen from entering the blood, resulting in sickness and eventual death.