Q:

Can you smell carbon monoxide?

A:

Quick Answer

Carbon monoxide, which has a chemical formula of CO, is a colorless, odorless gas that is produced when materials burn. If fuel-burning sources do have not adequate ventilation, CO concentrations rise to levels that are dangerous or even deadly to oxygen-breathing organisms, including humans.

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Can you smell carbon monoxide?
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Full Answer

Breathing high levels of CO causes CO poisoning, which can lead to death. Symptoms of CO poisoning are often mistaken for the flu and include headache, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, irritability and confusion. CO is commonly referred to as the “silent killer,” since levels can rise overnight while a household is asleep.

To protect against CO poisoning, fuel-burning devices should be well-ventilated and serviced regularly. Prevention also includes installing CO detectors in the home that sound an alarm if unsafe CO levels develop.

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