A Colorless, Odorless Killer

Carbon monoxide, also known as CO, is a colorless and odorless gas that can injure or kill a person.

Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of anything that burns fuel, such as cars and SUV’s, boat motors, stoves and grills and gas ranges, fireplaces and furnaces, lanterns, and other small engines. Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when CO has built up within an enclosed space, such as the cab of a car or a home, and can severely injure those who inhale it.


Coffey McPharlin has a practice focus on injury and wrongful death caused by keyless go ignition systems that are linked to an alarming number of carbon monoxide poisonings.

There are many symptoms associated with Carbon monoxide poisoning, though the most common ones have been described as “flu like.” These include headaches and dizziness, weakness, upset stomach and vomiting, overall aching and chest pain, and even confusion/disorientation. Exposure to too much CO can lead to unconsciousness and even death. If a victim is asleep or inebriated, the carbon monoxide poisoning can kill before causing any such symptoms.

While no one is safe from the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning, babies, seniors, those with anemia and/or chronic heart disease, or respiratory issues are all at a higher risk of being poisoned. According to the CDC, over 400 US citizens die from “unintentional CO poisoning” that is unrelated to fires. Additionally, over 20,000 individuals are taken to the emergency room and over 4,000 people are hospitalized for carbon monoxide poisoning.


The CDC provides two useful lists of ways to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning within the home and vehicle:

In the Home:

  • Install a battery-operated or battery back-up CO detector in your home and check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall.  It is especially important to place the detector near the door to any garage attached to your home if you park your car in the garage.
  • Have your heating system, water heater, and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
  • Do not use portable flameless chemical heaters indoors.
  • If you smell an odor from your gas refrigerator have an expert service it. An odor from your gas refrigerator can mean it could be leaking CO.
  • When you buy gas equipment, buy only equipment carrying the seal of a national testing agency, such as Underwriters’ Laboratories.
  • Make sure your gas appliances are vented properly. Horizontal vent pipes for appliances, such as a water heater, should go up slightly as they go toward outdoors, as shown below. This prevents CO from leaking if the joints or pipes are not fitted tightly.
  • Have your chimney checked or cleaned every year. Chimneys can be blocked by debris. This can cause CO to build up inside your home or cabin.
  • Never patch a vent pipe with tape, gum, or something else. This kind of patch can make CO build up in your home, cabin, or camper.
  • Never use a gas range or oven for heating. Using a gas range or oven for heating can cause a buildup of CO inside your home, cabin, or camper.
  • Never burn charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal – red, gray, black, or white – gives off CO.
  • Never use a portable gas camp stove indoors. Using a gas camp stove indoors can cause CO to build up inside your home, cabin, or camper.
  • Never use a generator inside your home, basement, or garage or less than 20 feet from any window, door, or vent.

In the Vehicle:

  • Make sure that if you have a keyless ignition system that you remember to shut off your car overtime that you exit the car and remove the key.
  • Have a mechanic check the exhaust system of your car or truck every year. A small leak in the exhaust system can lead to a build-up of CO inside the car.
  • Never run your car or truck inside a garage that is attached to a house even with the garage door open. Always open the door to a detached garage to let in fresh air when you run a car or truck inside.
  • If you drive a car or SUV with a tailgate, when you open the tailgate open the vents or windows to make sure air is moving through. If only the tailgate is open CO from the exhaust will be pulled into the car or SUV.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is a real and present danger to you and your loved ones. If you are the victim of CO, contact Coffey McPharlin today. We have experience in dealing with carbon monoxide cases and would like to lend you our knowledge. Visit our website for more information: https://coffeymcpharlin.com/fort-lauderdale-injury/carbon-monoxide-poisoning-lawyer/