Testing your Gas for Carbon Monoxide (CO)

Where is CO found?

CO is found in fumes produced any time you burn fuel in cars or trucks, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, or furnaces. CO can build up indoors and poison people and animals who breathe it.

What are the symptoms of CO Poisoning?

According to the CDC, the most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. CO symptoms are often described as “flu-like.” If you breathe in a lot of CO it can make you pass out or kill you.

What makes CO dangerous to divers?

CO bonds more readily to the hemoglobin in our blood than Oxygen. It also takes longer to release, which ties up our oxygen delivery system to important organs such as our brain.  Due to the higher partial pressures of the gasses we are breathing as divers, a smaller percentage of CO is needed to become deadly on a dive than here on the surface.

How can I avoid CO poisoning?

The most important way to avoid CO poisoning is to purchase your breathing gasses from a reputable source. This means a dive center that has their air system tested regularly, and is willing to show you the results.  If they will not share the results with you, it is better to drive a bit further than to risk it.  There are also many personal CO detectors available.  Sadly, they are either disposable or very expensive.

Co-pro.com offers a disposable detection system that is reasonably priced and compact.

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