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Do you know the difference between CO and CO2?

Do you know your hazardous gases? The difference between CO and CO2

I’ve never had a problem determining the difference between Ant and Dec as I was an avid fan of Byker Grove as a child. But many people struggle. To avoid future confusion PJ was the one blinded in an unfortunate paint-balling incident and Duncan had floppy hair.

For any non UK readers the same might apply to Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen – although I’m pretty certain they always wear appropriate eye protection when hunting for flags in the forest.

There is one common cause for confusion in the gas detection realm though – and this one is more worrying than mixing up a TV celebrity. I’m referring to people confusing two hazardous gases – carbon monoxide (CO) and carbon dioxide (CO2). With the use of the appropriate Google Alert this is almost a daily occurrence.

We were recently made aware that the American Red Cross were undertaking a CO2 Initiative but when we investigated further this was a CO Initiative. We applaud either but this mix-up is commonplace and is a bit of a worry.

Treating both of these gases as bad news is a good thing. They are both odourless and tasteless and can cause significant health issues or even death at relatively low exposure levels. But not using the appropriate gas detection could prove to be catastrophic.

For example – if a company was concerned about a build-up of CO2 in their craft brewery the use of a CO2 Detector would be an ideal solution. But if they mixed up CO2 with CO and ordered a CO Detector then this wouldn’t alarm if there was a CO2 leak. So the company might think they are safe from this threat but actually they are no better protected.

Most car parks measure for levels of carbon monoxide so if they did the opposite of the above example, not only would they get incorrect readings but the build-up of carbon dioxide would cause spurious alarms.

So getting it right is important and we thought this little rhyme might help:

There was once a young man called Bo
Who was exposed to high levels of CO
He had a CO2 alarm
The CO caused him harm
And now young Bo is no mo.

Confusion between the gases is still an issue a year later in 2016 – find out more in our updated blog post

Author: Simon Lunt, Director of Sales and Marketing

Tags: , ,
Posted in Breathing air

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