What is carbon monoxide?

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gsenviro | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Carbon monoxide, represented by the chemical formula CO, is a colorless and odorless gas. It contains one atom each of carbon and oxygen connected by a triple bond. Carbon monoxide is formed by incomplete combustion of carbon-containing compounds (typically fossil fuels, such as coal, kerosene, natural gas, etc. and in automobile engines). Naturally it is produced by a photochemical reaction in the troposphere. 

Carbon monoxide is mostly known for its harmful effects on human health. It combines with hemoglobin in our blood, creating a compound known as carboxyhemoglobin which reduces the oxygen carrying capacity of our blood. Each year a large number of deaths are reported due to carbon monoxide poisoning. Examples include being stuck in a running car, sleeping in a (non-ventilated) room with a coal or wood-based heater, etc. 

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theheidemanns | eNotes Newbie

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Carbon monoxide (CO) is a deadly, colorless, and odorless poisonous gas. It is produced by the incomplete burning of various fuels such as coal, charcoal, wood, propane, natural gas, and kerosene. Products and equipment powered by internal combustion engines such as cars, portable generators, lawn mowers, and power washers produce CO.

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luannev | Elementary School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

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The scientific symbol for carbon monoxide is CO.  This means there is one part carbon to one part oxygen. It is a toxic gas that is colorless, odorless, tasteless, and initially non-irritating.  This makes it very hard to detect. Carbon monoxide occurs when there is an inadequate break down of organic matter.  This is due to a lack of oxygen which is needed to complete oxidation and create carbon dioxide (CO2).

It is often produced by motor vehicles that run on gasoline, diesel, methane, or other carbon-based fuels.  It can also be produced from tools, gas heaters, and cooking equipment that are powered by carbon-based fuels such as propane, butane and charcoal.  A person is put at risk after being exposed to 100 ppm or greater of carbon monoxide.

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pchrenka | Elementary School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

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Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas which has harmful effects on humans.  It is the combination of Carbon and Oxygen  that when in the human body will attach to our oxyhemoglobin and cause death. It forms as a byproduct of gasoline powered piston driven engines and when released into the atmosphere forms greenhouse gas

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