Studying Effects of Carbon Monoxide

How to Safely Study Carbon Monoxide and its Effects

Carbon Monoxide Detector on Cherry Wood
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Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas formed during combustion. When carbon monoxide is inhaled — even in tiny concentrations — it combines with the hemoglobin in the red blood cells to prevent the delivery of oxygen to the body. Considering we humans are all about getting oxygen, that's a problem. 

Studying carbon monoxide requires some careful safety precautions, and always discuss your idea with a teacher before proceeding.

It's a good idea to have a parent or other adult supervise your work, to prevent any unforeseen mishaps. Do your research!

Questions and Techniques for Science Projects Studying Carbon Monoxide

Measure the carbon monoxide in different places with a detector, such as in your home, car, friend's home, room with a fireplace, etc. Chart how much carbon monoxide there is in each place. DON'T try to increase carbon monoxide levels (such as in a garage with a car's exhaust) to try to "enhance" your readings on the monitor, because the results could be dangerous. 

When are carbon monoxide levels dangerous? What can be done about dangerous levels in a home? What government agencies are responsible for carbon monoxide cleanup? 

How much carbon monoxide do automobiles produce? How does this contribute to air pollution? Are there ways the auto or gasoline industries are trying to stem the production of carbon monoxide in their products?

How successful have these efforts been? 

What are the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning on the body? If a person is diagnosed with carbon monoxide poisoning, what medical treatment should they receive? If a person survives, how long is the recovery period? And, most importantly, what are the warning signs to look out for in a carbon monoxide poisoning situation?


Resources to Complete the Carbon Monoxide Science Fair Project

Carbon Monoxide Questions and Answers
Resource information from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

An Introduction to Indoor Air Quality
All the basics about levels in the home.

Related Science Fair Project Resources

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