New Jersey Environmental Public Health Tracking Program

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Carbon Monoxide Exposure

What is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless and poisonous gas that can kill exposed individuals. It is produced by the incomplete burning of solid, liquid and gaseous fuels.  Although CO poisoning can almost always be prevented, every year more than 500 Americans die as a result of unintentional exposure to this toxic gas.

How Does Carbon Monoxide Affect Human Health?

Symptoms of exposure include: headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness and confusion.  At high levels, carbon monoxide poisoning causes loss of consciousness and death.  Survivors of severe poisoning may suffer long-term neurological problems. 

What is Being Done to Protect Human Health?

The NJ Division of Consumer Affairs  and the NJ Department of Community Affairs provide guidance on protecting yourself and your family from CO poisoning.

The NJ EPHT project is collecting hospitalization data on unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning to better understand and track the impact of CO poisoning.  Data collected include the annual number of hospital admissions from CO poisoning for all unintentional fire-related causes, all non-fire-related unintentional causes, and all unknown causes of CO poisoning.  These data can be used to assess the burden of severe CO poisoning, monitor trends over time, and to inform prevention, education and evaluation efforts.

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