Describe how carbon monoxide kills you.

1 year ago


4 Replies




Noel Lynch

4 Replies


Dear Noel, this is a very imp question in Carbon Chemistry. We know in our body, Carbon is one of the important building element , about 18% of body mass. But the oxides of Carbon say Carbon Monoxide (CO) and Carbon Dioxide ( CO2), both are harmful as they are not supporting human life.

Red blood cell in our body has an iron compound Hemoglobin, which is the carrier of Oxygen (O2) from human lungs to our body cells after forming Oxyhemoglobin compound in our lungs , whereas, if inhaled, Carbon Monoxide ( CO ) , forms Carboxyhemoglobin which stops carrying Oxygen . This process of forming of Carboxy compound is 200 to 300 times faster than the former process of forming oxy compound , and so, if high dose is inhaled, death within 5 minutes is inevitable .

Hence it is always advisable not to sleep in locked door- window condition with fireplace having burning fuel // car - truck having engine on// similar situation where there is a chance of CO formation due to inefficient burning of fuel.

Hope this satisfies your query....if not.... please feel free to write in ::

Adelina Madjarova

CO kills "you" by asphyxiation or lack of oxygen to the brain.

Itunuoluwa Oyeyemi

Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas, it binds to the hemoglobin in the red blood cell, stabilizes the bond, and therefore reduces the ability of the hemoglobin to release Oxygen to other oxygen bindings sites

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Verified Sherpa Tutor

Red blood cells carry oxygen to cells so that these can function. To transport oxygen red blood cells use a protein called haemoglobin. This protein contains an atom of iron that bonds to the oxygen that comes through the lungs and then release the oxygen to the cells around the body. The problem is that if we breathe in carbon monoxide, then this gas bonds very strongly to the iron atom in haemoglobin and therefore, the iron atom can no longer bond to the oxygen for it to be transported. This will stop cells from respiring and having enough energy to work, which can be lethal. Does it make sense?

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