It’s Fireplace Season! Here’s How to Protect Yourself from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

We often think of air pollution as being a concern in the hot summer months. However, one type of indoor air pollution is more troublesome in the winter—carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide (CO) is generated indoors when we burn oil, coal, wood or other materials to heat our homes. Since it’s colorless and odorless, we may not notice when concentrations are approaching dangerous levels—and too much CO can be lethal.

In fact, from 1999-2010, a total of 5,149 deaths from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning occurred in the United States, an average of 430 deaths per year. The average annual death rate from carbon monoxide poisoning for males was more than three times higher than that for females. The death rates were highest among those aged 65 and over.

Watch this short video to learn about the causes of CO poisoning, and what you can do to prevent it.