Every year, carbon monoxide (CO) is the cause of many poisonings in Quebec. It is a clear and odourless toxic gas. It does not irritate the eyes or respiratory tract. Inhaling carbon monoxide can be very dangerous for health and may even cause death.
Carbon monoxide is released when appliances and vehicles burn combustibles such as propane, wood and fuel oil.
Only a carbon monoxide alarm can detect the gas and warn you. When the alarm goes off, knowing what to do is important. To find out more on this, go to the What To Do When You Have Symptoms or a Carbon Monoxide Alarm Goes Off section.
If you wish to get an alarm, purchasing advice can be found in the Choosing Your CO Detectors section of the ministère de la Sécurité publique website.
Several types of appliances and vehicles can release carbon monoxide and cause poisoning:
The use of these appliances and vehicles generally does not pose a threat to your health, but they can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Here are some situations in which poisoning may occur:
The best way to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning is by abiding to safety.
Proper safety measures must be taken to reduce the risk of accidents during handling, installation and use of propane appliances. To know more about this, see the Using propane page on the Régie du bâtiment du Québec website.
In order to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, special measures should be taken during some situations. Certain actions must also be taken when symptoms appear, or in the event of an emergency.
Never use as a heating device a gas appliance such as a stove, portable heater, camping heater or a barbecue.
In case of prolonged power failure during cold weather, check if your municipality has emergency shelters where you can go for safety.
If you are using a generator, install it:
Fuel-burning appliances that produce carbon monoxide can cause poisoning no matter where they are used. Even on vacation, whether it's in a chalet, a fishing or hunting camp, a caravan or camping site, you need to take precautions.
If you have symptoms of poisoning, whether or not the carbon monoxide alarm goes off:
If you do not have symptoms of poisoning but the alarm goes off:
Excavation with explosives usually produces carbon monoxide. If it does not dissipate in the air, carbon monoxide can move through soil into buildings or enclosed areas. Buildings located within 100 metres of a blast site are most likely to be contaminated with carbon monoxide.
If excavation work is being conducted with explosives near you, there may be danger of poisoning by carbon monoxide. Indeed, the gas could leak into your home from the ground. The infiltration can happen day or night, and even several days after operations.
When blasting operations are planned, the people responsible must warn occupants of residences within a 100-meter radius of the site. They must provide them with information on the following:
The people responsible must also:
If you have received a carbon monoxide alarm because blasting operations are due to be conducted near you, you must do the following:
Certain toxic gases are sometimes present inside arenas when poorly evacuated. These gases come primarily from the exhaust pipes of combustion apparatus such as oil-fired or propane heating system, resurfacers and propane or gasoline-powered trimmers or other motorized vehicles. These apparatuses can release carbon monoxide or nitrogen dioxide and cause poisoning, whether you are on the ice or in the bleachers of an arena.
You might have carbon monoxide poisoning if you experience the following symptoms within minutes from exposure:
You might have nitrogen dioxide poisoning if you experience the following symptoms immediately after exposure and up to two days after being in an arena:
If you have symptoms of poisoning:
If symptoms appear within two days of having been in an arena:
Last update: December 8, 2017 10:22 AM
The information on this website by no means replaces the advice of a health professional. If you have questions regarding your health, contact Info-Santé 811 or see a health professional.