Tox Briefs

It’s cold outside…stay safe inside!

Don’t let harsh weather conditions outside result in hazardous conditions inside:

  • Never use a generator inside homes, garages, or directly adjacent to homes especially near windows.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and maintenance instructions when using heaters indoors.
  • Install a carbon monoxide detector in your home and replace the batteries periodically.
  • Chimneys and fireplaces should be cleaned and checked periodically. Call your local fire department for more information.
  • Only burn untreated wood for heating and cooking.

Not following these recommendations can result in exposure to carbon monoxide, smoke, particulate matter, and toxic chemicals used to preserve lumber including copper chromated arsenate (CCA), pentachlorophenol, and creosote.

Exposure to carbon monoxide may not induce symptoms before reaching dangerous levels, but can result in suffocation, loss of consciousness, brain damage, or death.  Symptoms include headache, dizziness, difficulty breathing, weakness, vomiting, chest pain, confusion, and fatigue.

Particulate matter can cause eye, nose and throat irritation.  For people who have heart and lung disease or asthma, breathing particulate matter can make those symptoms worse—especially in children and older adults.

Inhalation of the substances used for wood preservation can result in respiratory symptoms such as irritation to the eyes, nose, and mouth.  Over time, exposure to these substances can damage internal organs.