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Carbon monoxide exposure is risky

POSTED: April 3, 2007 5:14 a.m.
Most of us are aware of how deadly carbon monoxide can be. Few, however, know that new research shows that low-level, long-term exposure may lead to serious, chronic health problems.
Furthermore, people who seemingly recover from an acute exposure may experience severe health effects.
The Georgia Department of Human Resources Division of Public Health, recently published a brochure designed to educate the public about these health effects, called Potential Long-Term Health Effects from Carbon Monoxide.
“DHR hopes that people will read a copy of the free brochure and take the necessary precautions to prevent all forms of carbon monoxide exposure,” said Stuart Brown, M.D. director of the DHR Division of Public Health.
Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas that is impossible to see, taste or smell. The most common ways people are exposed to CO occur from improper use or functioning of gas, oil, and coal burning appliances, vehicle exhaust, and improperly vented or unvented fireplaces and stoves.
In 2005, 64 people in Georgia died from carbon monoxide poisoning. It is widely believed that the health effects of carbon monoxide cease when a person is removed from the source of the exposure, moving outdoors for example. But recent studies indicate that many serious and persistent health effects may continue, even after the source is removed.
If you suspect CO exposure, turn off gas appliances, ventilate the area, contact the fire department, and see a doctor. For a copy of the brochure, visit programs/hazards; or call (404) 657-6534.
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