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Carbon monoxide (CO) is a toxic gas that is odorless, tasteless and cannot be seen. Therefore, it poses a serious threat to people when not detected. CO is primarily produced from incomplete combustion, as may occur in a malfunctioning gas powered water heater. The source of elevated CO may be an appliance needing repair or maintenance or can also be from an improper installation that does not allow sufficient air flow to the appliance for complete combustion. Other scenarios that may lead to CO exposures include a car left idling in a garage, the improper venting of fuel burning equipment, or use of fuel-burning equipment inside that is meant only for outdoor use where there is sufficient ventilation.
JENSEN HUGHES has experience investigating CO sources, the spread of CO throughout structures, and the calculation of carboxyhemoglobin (COHb) for individuals based on their personal characteristics. Elevated COHb occurs as a consequence of the hemoglobin in the red blood cells having a greater affinity to CO than oxygen. This is problematic because the hemoglobin normally carries oxygen throughout the body, and when CO displaces the oxygen to form carboxyhemoglobin (COHb), the body is deprived of oxygen (i.e., causing asphyxiation).
JENSEN HUGHES’ experience with the testing and evaluation of different CO sensor technologies allows an in-depth understanding of how CO alarms and detectors will respond to specific hazard scenarios. It is also important to assess the source of the CO relative to the ventilation and exposure scenario. JENSEN HUGHES incident assessment and analytical capabilities include field testing of equipment, on-site measurements of CO, on-site ventilation analysis, and computer modeling of CO dispersion and CO exposure.
CO Codes and Standards
JENSEN HUGHES experts have served on the NFPA 720 Technical Committee on Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detection and Warning Equipment since its inception and are also members of the UL 2034 Standards Technical Panel for Carbon Monoxide Alarms and Gas Detectors. Participating in the development of codes and standards is built upon a long history of experience and authoring papers on the formation of CO and the evaluation of CO alarm/detector installation requirements.
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