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Identifying Exposure Risks to Prevent CO Poisoning from Defective Heaters and Fireplaces

EMSL Analytical, Inc. provides testing services, sampling supplies and field instrumentation to identify exposure hazards to carbon monoxide and other gases.

Cinnaminson, NJ – WEBWIRE

In December, firefighters were called to investigate an unusual odor detected by students and staff at an elementary school in Charleston, West Virginia. According to media reports, firefighters discovered elevated carbon monoxide (CO) levels in parts of the building which resulted in the temporary closure of the gym and cafeteria.

An investigation discovered a defective rooftop heat exchange unit that allowed elevated levels of carbon monoxide to enter the school. Fortunately, an odor related to the faulty equipment caught people’s attention since carbon monoxide on its own is an odorless, colorless gas.

Exposure to high enough levels of carbon monoxide can cause sudden illness and death. All people and animals can be at risk for CO poisoning, but certain groups, such as unborn babies, infants and people with chronic heart disease, anemia or respiratory problems are often more susceptible to its effects. Common symptoms of CO poisoning can be similar to seasickness or alcohol intoxication and may include:

  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue
  • Seizures
  • Dizziness or loss of consciousness
  • Nausea

“Schools, homes, offices and anywhere indoors where carbon monoxide can accumulate should have a carbon monoxide sensor to warn building occupants,” said Jody Thomason, Vice President of Products/Corporate Purchasing for EMSL Analytical, Inc. “With the cold winter months here, cases like this, caused by faulty heaters or defective wood or fuel fired stoves and fireplaces, happen all too frequently. To help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, EMSL Analytical, Inc. offers air testing services and a broad range of field instrumentation, air monitors and data logging instruments that can detect CO and other combustion gases. These instruments are available for purchase and rental from EMSL’s Products Division.”

To learn more about air testing or other environmental, occupational or health and safety services and monitoring instruments, please visit, call (800) 220-3675 or email .

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.

EMSL Analytical, Inc. is one of the leading testing laboratories with 40 locations throughout the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in fast laboratory results for mold, bacteria, Legionella, USP 797, pathogens, asbestos, lead, soot, char & ash from fires, VOC’s, odors, radon, formaldehyde, indoor air quality, microbiology, environmental, industrial hygiene, radiological, food, beverage & consumer products and material testing services for the identification of unknown substances. EMSL services both professionals and the general public. EMSL maintains an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies including, but not limited to A2LA, AIHA LAP, LLC. (AIHA EMLAP, AIHA IHLAP, AIHA ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP and multiple other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at for a complete listing of accreditations.  In addition, EMSL carries a wide range of Sampling Equipment and Investigative Products for environmental professionals.

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 carbon monoxide
 odorless gas
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