Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odourless, colourless gas produced by combustion of hydrocarbon fuels. The toxic fume takes the place of oxygen in the blood, leading to headaches, drowsiness, irritability, reduced judgment and motor skills, convulsions, coma and death.
Between 2011 and 2016 there were 15 deaths attributed to gas and solid fuel appliances in Australia, and in the 12 months between 2018-2019 there were 256 hospitalisations due to accidental poisoning from Carbon monoxide.
Concerningly, Carbon monoxide poisoning is becoming increasingly common. A recent study has found that Carbon monoxide contributed to the death of 28 people between 2006-2018, when drivers unintentionally filled their homes with toxic fumes by leaving their keyless cars parked and running in their garages.
Carbon monoxide is particularly deadly in confined spaces such as cars, boats and caravans.