Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that has no smell or taste. It is produced as a result of the incomplete burning of fuels such as coal, gas, oil and wood. If the gas is inhaled it can make you unwell and even kill you. Poisoning occurs after the carbon monoxide is inhaled and when it enters the blood stream. It mixes with the part of the red blood cells that carries oxygen around the body and forms carboxyhaemoglobin. Once this occurs the blood is no longer able to carry oxygen and the lack of oxygen causes the cells and tissues in the body to fail and die.
More than 200 people each year are seen at hospital due to suspected carbon monoxide poisoning and approximately 50 people die as a result.
The main symptom of low-level exposure to carbon monoxide is a tension type headache. Other symptoms include:
- stomach pain
- shortness of breath
The symptoms worsen the longer the gas is inhaled and consciousness can be lost within a matter of hours, particularly if there is a high concentration of carbon monoxide in the air. Prolonged exposure or exposure to a high concentration of carbon monoxide can cause serious complications such as breathlessness, chest pains, seizures and loss of consciousness.
Approximately 10-15% of those who have severe poisoning develop long-term complications such as:
High risk exposure environments
Common work environments where exposure to carbon monoxide can occur include: garages, industrial workplaces and mines. However, it can also occur in the home, office or holiday locations as a result of a defective boiler, central heating system, water heater, cooker or fire.
If you have suffered as a result of exposure to carbon monoxide in a council-owned or rented property then you may have a potential compensation claim against the council or the landlord, depending on your circumstances. Similarly, if your exposure occurred in the workplace and your employer failed to take adequate steps to protect you then you may have a claim against them. Other organisations that may have a duty of care include: housing associations, holiday home and hotel owners.
If you or a loved one have suffered as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning and consider this to be the fault of another please contact us to discuss the potential for bringing a compensation claim by calling our Personal Injury (PI) and Industrial Disease lawyers on Freephone 0808 164 0808 for a FREE, no-obligation chat. Alternatively, you can complete the request a call back form and we will call you.