Sunday, January 18, 2009

Jennifer, Is your health is in danger of Carbon Monoxide?

The topic in section 2.15 of chapter 2 in Chemistry in Your Life by Colin Baird informs the reader of the dangers of Carbon Monoxide. It explains in detail to what extent Carbon Monoxide is dangerous to our health and how the different levels of concentration trigger our immune system. Although it may take some time for the human body to have any symptoms from short-term exposure to Carbon Monoxide, it does not necessarily mean that the body will not be affected eventually. The reason why it may take some time to have any symptoms of carbon Monoxide is because it “takes time for the Carbon Monoxide in the air to gradually enter the bloodstream.” Some of the first symptoms that one may feel when experiencing poisoning of Carbon Monoxide at several hundred ppm, would be drowsiness and then headache. Many times people do not feel that these symptoms are related to the exposure of Carbon Monoxide that they are being exposed to, so they just ignore them.

To explain the reason why Carbon Monoxide is a health hazard one must understand we need sufficient transport of oxygen molecules. The Carbon Monoxide interferes with the transportation of these molecules “from our lungs thorough our bloodstream to the various cells in our body.” It becomes a more serious problem when the Carbon Monoxide binds itself better with Oxygen, and this reduces the number of hemoglobin molecules that are able to actually carry out oxygen to our cells. When this happens our heart needs to work harder and faster in order to be able to supply the cells with the oxygen they need to continue to function correctly, when we are exposed to Carbon Monoxide.

A concept that I was not aware of before reading this article was the fact that smoking and even being around smokers can mean we are being exposed to CO. I also was not aware of how it was that second hand smoke was more harmful than the person smoking. The reason why this happens is because it goes thorough less complete combustion than to the person that is actually smoking it.

I believe that the people who choose to smoke should be considerate of others and take into consideration that the smoke of tobacco is a very disturbing smell for non smokers. Learning this information has made me be more conscious of being around people who smoke a lot. Because it used to just be the smell that was unpleasant but understanding what that smoke can do to my health over a long period of time will help me keep my oxygen level high in my bloodstream.

A good way to deal with this would be by making more people aware of the dangers of Carbon Monoxide, and how it can be prevented. Another thing that should be developed would be a safer way to remove Carbon Monoxide from the bloodstream, other than the one that already exists today. 30% of people who are treated for Carbon Monoxide suffer brain damage during the treatment.

Baird,Colin. Chemistry in Your Life. 2 ed. Carbon Monoxide GAs Can Severely damage Your Health. New York: W.H Freeman & Comp, 2006.

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