Five people were transported to the hospital following a Union carbon monoxide poisoning Sunday night. Union, NJ was the site of dangerously high levels of carbon monoxide in a home, according to TAPinto.

Reports said that a female was unconscious in the home, and another person had undisclosed medical issues.

Sadly, this tragic event also killed the family dog. The levels in the home were extremely high. The old cliche about canaries in the coal mine is too often true.  Since dogs are normally smaller than adult humans, the carbon monoxide will affect them more. Their bodies are smaller, so it takes less of the gas to overcome them. It takes less for them to die from carbon monoxide poisoning. This is also true for children, since they are smaller than normal adult humans, too.

The levels of carbon monoxide that the emergency personnel found were about 100 ppm at the door and about 900 ppm on the second floor. These are lethal levels of the toxin.

When one breathes in high levels of carbon monoxide in the air, the brain and body becomes deprived of oxygen. Carbon monoxide binds to hemoglobin, a protein in the blood that carries oxygen, with about 200 times the affinity of oxygen. This process of oxygen deprivation is called anoxia.

Then, in addition, carbon monoxide causes excess of a neuron-killing neurotransmitter in the brain called glutamate. In effect, too much carbon monoxide causes brain cells to die.

The most vulnerable parts of the brain are those located deep in the brain at the end of its oxygen route. These parts of the brain that are susceptible to brain damage include the hippocampus and the corpus callosum. They control memory and coordination, respectively. This is why some people with carbon monoxide poisoning experience memory problems or balance issues. With levels this high, there is a risk of brain damage.

A scientific study demonstrated that hyperbaric oxygen therapy is actually an effective treatment for trying to reduce cognitive sequelae in the days and weeks following the acute carbon monoxide poisoning. Hyperbaric oxygen treats with 100 percent oxygen in a pressurized chamber. In the 2 to 40 days following the acute event, victims may begin to suffer from delayed neurological sequelae (DNS). Sequelae simply means complications after the fact. The study mentioned demonstrated that hyperbaric oxygen therapy significantly reduced cognitive sequelae after an acute carbon monoxide poisoning.

With levels reaching 900 ppm, the carboxyhemoglobin levels, which measures the amount of carbon monoxide in the blood, were probably very high. With very high levels, it is best practice to treat using hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Hopefully, that is what happened in this case.

There may be fault in this case of the Union carbon monoxide poisoning. From a legal perspective, it is important to take the carboxyhemoglobin levels as soon as possible to get an accurate idea of how high their carboxyhemoglobin levels were during the peak of the event. This can help prove that the victims suffered significant damages. With every minute of breathing normal oxygen, or being treated with oxygen, the carboxyhemoglobin levels go down.

According to the report, the source of the poisoning was a faulty furnace. The Union FMBA Local 46 posted on Facebook encouraging residents to purchase carbon monoxide alarms if they have not already.

Union Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

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