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Carbon Monoxide Calibration Gas

Carbon Monoxide Calibration Gases

Carbon Monoxide (CO): The Silent Killer

Carbon Monoxide can be found on the ‘Periodic Table of Elements, listed by it’s often referred to abbreviation ‘CO’. CO is a highly toxic, odorless, colorless, tasteless, and poisonous gas known to be one of the most threatening industrial hazards. Known as the "silent killer”, each year approximately 50,000 people throughout the United States visit an emergency room after Carbon Monoxide exposure. 500 of those exposed to fatal amounts will die from Carbon Monoxide poisoning. Poisoning occurs when CO displaces oxygen in blood, depriving the body’s essential organs such as the heart and brain of the oxygen necessary to function.

The prospect of being poisoned by CO frightens many people not only due to its undetectability by human senses, but also by its propensity to overtake someone without any warning or prior symptoms. One moment you could be completely fine, then suddenly become unconscious followed by suffocation. That’s why continually monitoring carbon monoxide using a gas detector with precision quality CO calibration gas is so important. It’s the difference between life and death.

CO in the Workplace

Workplace exposures are limited to less than 50ppm over an 8-hour time span. Tolerance levels of Carbon Monoxide exposure differ from person to person but for most of us, Carbon Monoxide becomes a danger at levels of 100ppm and above.

CO is produced industrially for utilization in the manufacturing of organic and inorganic chemical products and is produced whenever a fuel is burned. Perhaps its presence in the exhaust gases of internal-combustion engines, is its best-known source. Cars, trucks, airplanes and many other types of machines are equipped with engines which emit carbon monoxide.

An example of how CO is monitored within the workplace is within the mining industry. Miners must be particularly keen to CO levels within their work environment, as this gas presents itself on a continual basis within both surface and underground mines. Internal combustion engines, explosives and low temperature oxidation of coal are the main sources of carbon monoxide. Active gas monitoring using gas detectors are among the many occupational health & safety practices those in the mining sector observe.

Health Effects at Different Levels of Exposure to Carbon Monoxide 

Exposure to Carbon Monoxide can cause a number of different symptoms similar to less threatening ailments such as food poisoning or the flu. This makes it extremely important to know and understand the signs of potential exposure along with your exposure risks when working in confined spaces.

Symptoms such as headaches, blurred vision, dizziness, chest pain and disorientation that occur on a regular basis could indicate that you are being exposed to low levels of carbon monoxide over a long period of time. Exposure at very high levels can cause death within minutes. Irreversible neurological effects are possible if hypoxia (severe oxygen deficiency) occurs from acute carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon Monoxide Exposure Chart

Level of CO

Physiological Effects


Normal, fresh air.


Maximum recommended indoor CO level (ASHRAE).

10-24 PPM

Possible health effects with long-term exposure.

25 PPM

Max TWA Exposure for 8-hour work-day (ACGIH).

50 PPM

Maximum permissible exposure in workplace (OSHA).

100 PPM

Slight headache after 1-2 hours.

200 PPM

Dizziness, nausea, fatigue, headache after 2-3 hours of exposure.

400 PPM

Headache and nausea after 1-2 hours of exposure.
Life threatening in 3 hours.

800 PPM

Headache, nausea, and dizziness after 45 minutes; collapse and unconsciousness after 1 hour of exposure.
Death within 2-3 hours.

1000 PPM

Loss of consciousness after 1 hour of exposure.

1600 PPM

Headache, nausea, and dizziness after 20 minutes of exposure.
Death within 1-2 hours.

3200 PPM

Headache, nausea, and dizziness after 5-10 minutes; collapse and unconsciousness after 30 minutes of exposure.
Death within 1 hour.

 6400 PPM

Death within 30 minutes.

12,800 PPM

Immediate physiological effects, unconsciousness.
Death within 1-3 minutes of exposure.


Is Carbon Monoxide Reactive or Non-Reactive? 

There are no known possibilities of hazardous reactions for Carbon Monoxide, therefore it is classified as a non-reactive gas. When contact occurs with oxidizing agents such as chlorine and aluminum, there is an increased risk of fire and/or explosion. 

The Importance of Carbon Monoxide Detection Systems

Working in confined spaces increases your risk of Carbon Monoxide exposure and it is impossible to detect without the use of proper monitoring equipment. Safety considerations are necessary to ensure the health and safety of anyone who runs the risk of exposure to any dangerous gas emissions, which is especially true for confined space workers.

Confined spaces often appear to be harmless, but invisible gases such as Carbon Monoxide displaces oxygen, and without oxygen, a worker could be dead in 4 minutes. Utilizing a multi-gas detector before and during entering a confined space could mean the difference between life and death. Choosing the appropriate sensor configuration (Electrochemical or Wet Chemical toxic sensor) will allow you to detect hazardous gases accurately and in a timely manner. Portable gas detectors are available for purchase right here on EGas Depot.

Need a Gas Detector? EGas Depot's Got You Covered

EGas offers gas detectors which accurately monitor the presence of Carbon Monoxide from some of the top manufacturers, used across the Mining, construction and manufacturing sectors. Check out our gas monitors right here from these EGas Depot brands:  

Safety Precautions: Handling & Storage of Gas Cylinders 

It is extremely important to educate yourself on the proper handling and storage procedures of Carbon Monoxide calibration gas cylinders, as the gas is highly toxic and can reach deadly exposure limits within minutes. Having the proper detection devices in place is just the first step. When cylinders are being stored, there are certain steps that can be taken to minimize risk and potentially save your life.

Handling & Storage Safety Tips

  • Read hazard labels and follow storage instructions that are included with the gas cylinder
  • Working conditions should not allow exposure to corrosion, flames, sparks, and other sources of ignition
  • Store cylinders vertically and restrain them with a chain or bracket
  • Keep cylinders away from heat sources
  • Never use compressed gas cylinders for any purpose other than its intended use
  • Keep storage areas well ventilated at all times 
  • Full and empty cylinders should be kept separately
  • Never roll cylinders along the ground 

Carbon Monoxide Gas Cylinder Sizes

EGas Depot offers a wide range of Carbon Monoxide Calibration Gases. With 13 different liter sizes and over 20 different options for your ppm/LEL requirements available to you, we are a one-stop shop for all of your field calibration needs.