Canary in A coal mine Morgan Corriher

Carbon monoxide is found in pockets of coal because the carbon monoxide is produced by the low temperature oxidation of coal. It is also produced by engine exhausts and chemicals from the explosives. The carbon monoxide develops over the millions of years with the coal, making it present in almost all of the pockets.

Carbon monoxide might be found in multiple sources in our environment, some places we might not ever think about it being present in. It can be found in appliances in our homes, especially furnaces and heaters that are not working properly. CO is also found in portable generators, the generator release more of the gas than any idling car. Tools and equipment that require fuel such as chainsaws, also contain a great deal of carbon monoxide. The exhaust of a vehicle also releases carbon monoxide, this being the most common source of the gas. Boats just as vehicles, contain a large amount from exhaust. Many people are encouraged not to leave their boat running and sitting for a long period of time.

One can be exposed to carbon monoxide through a variety of ways. Exposure to unvented heating systems, running cars in a garage, and using a gas stove or oven to heat the house are just a few that are examples of exposure to the gas. Everyone is at risk for CO poisoning, but certain people may be at more risk than others. Unborn babies, infants, the elderly, and people with heart disease, anemia, or respiratory problems are at much higher risk for poisoning.

There is most definitely a possibility you can come in contact with CO gas during your day. Carbon monoxide is present all around us in the air and you can even be exposed to it second hand. Carbon monoxide is present in cigarette smoke, any gas appliances being used, any improperly vented generator used in the loss of power, inside your car, on the lake with boats, and from tools possibly used in your workplace.

Some contemporary sources of carbon monoxide are any carbon-containing fuels through combustion. The most common of these contemporary sources are the combustion of gasoline, natural gas, oil, coal, and wood.

The effects of carbon monoxide poisoning vary depending on how long and how much of the gas a person has taken in. Breathing in of CO can cause headaches, dizziness, vomiting, and nausea. If the levels of carbon monoxide are high, one may pass out and become unconscious or even die. Moderate levels over a long period of time puts a person at high risk of heart disease and if they survive the poisoning they will most likely have long-term health problems. There is still research on what happens when one consumes low levels of CO over a long period of time.

You could protect yourself and your family from carbon monoxide poisoning in a variety of ways. The most sure and simple way is to purchase a carbon monoxide detector to place in your home that beeps when detecting the gas, helping in the same way the canaries did in the gold mines. You can also use gas lines properly, never put a grill indoors, have your heating system serviced, etc.

The most startling fact to me about carbon monoxide is the fact that we don't see, taste, or smell the gas. There is no way to inform ourselves if there is carbon monoxide present in the air besides carrying around a detector with us all the time. I would like to think of carbon monoxide as a "silent killer".

Greenland is like the canary of global warming because the canaries in the gold mine get exposure and die of the carbon monoxide before anyone else does, saving the miners. Just as the canaries, places such as Greenland and other polar regions may get exposure and be ruined by global warming before any other region in the world may because of the increased ice caps and climate change that is occurring. In Greenland, scientists believe that it may eventually be too late to change the course of action that is bound to be coming as a result of the rising sea levels because of glaciers and ice caps.


Created with images by mozzercork - "Gorse Fire" • Meditations - "cigarette tobacco kills" • CORGI HomePlan - "Carbon monoxide alarm" • kimberlykv - "Margerie Glacier"

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