|Symptoms of mild acute CO poisoning |
include lightheadedness, confusion,
headaches, vertigo, and flu-like effects;
larger exposures can lead to death.
"However, as of December 2012, 10 of the 25 states with statutes mandating CO alarms exempted homes without fuel-burning appliances or attached garages, believing that without an internal CO source, risk is eliminated. This may not be true if CO diffuses directly through wall-board material," write Neil B. Hampson, M.D., of Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, and colleagues.
As reported in a Research Letter, a Plexiglas chamber divided by various configurations of gypsum wallboard was used to determine whether CO diffuses across drywall. Wallboard of various thickness levels were tested.
Carbon monoxide test gas was infused into the chamber and then CO concentrations were measured once per minute in each chamber for 24 hours.
The authors sought to determine how rapidly a concentration of CO toxic to humans would be reached in the non-infused chamber and whether diffusion would then continue.
The researchers found that carbon monoxide diffused across single-layer gypsum wallboard of 2 thicknesses, double-layer wallboard, and painted double-layer wallboard.
"Gypsum's permeability to CO is due to its porosity. … The ability of CO to diffuse across gypsum wallboard may explain at least some instances of CO poisoning in contiguous residences. Exempting residences without internal CO sources from the legislation mandating CO alarms may put people in multifamily dwellings at risk for unintentional CO poisoning."
Source: The JAMA Network Journals (EurekAlert!)
Carbon Monoxide is only one of many air pollutants that can affect builders and occupants. Adequate ventilation, healthy building materials and the right air purification system can help alleviate the risks. For more information, contact Electrocorp.