How does a molecule of carbon monoxide differ from a molecule of carbon dioxide?
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, toxic gas that has the molecular formula CO. The molecule consists of a carbon atom that is triply bonded to an oxygen atom. The linear molecule consists of a carbon atom that is doubly bonded to two oxygen atoms, O=C=O.
Carbon monoxide (CO). This odorless, colorless, and poisonous gas is formed by the combustion of fossil fuels such as gasoline and is emitted primarily from cars and trucks. When inhaled, CO blocks oxygen from the brain, heart, and other vital organs.
- Burning wood also puts CO2 in the atmosphere. Carbon monoxide CO, unlike CO2, is a bad poison. CO is produced by incomplete combustion, i.e. when there isn't enough oxygen to make CO2, you get CO. Carbon monoxide binds very strongly to the iron in the hemoglobin in the blood.
- Carbon monoxide is harmful when breathed because it displaces oxygen in the blood and deprives the heart, brain, and other vital organs of oxygen. Large amounts of CO can overcome you in minutes without warning—causing you to lose consciousness and suffocate.
- Get into fresh air immediately and call 911 or emergency medical help if you or someone you're with develops signs or symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. These include headache, dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath, weakness and confusion. Once you're at the hospital, treatment may involve: Breathing pure oxygen.
Updated: 2nd October 2019