HEALTHY LIVING
10/29/2012 02:12 pm ET

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: Exercise Caution If Using Portable Generator In Power Outages From Hurricane Sandy

Power outages due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy may affect as many as 10 million people. If your power has gone out and you are using a portable generator, exercise caution, as improperly using gas-powered equipment can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, warns the American Association of Poison Control Centers.

"Many poison emergencies happen when electrical power is lost in the period during and after natural disasters like hurricanes and winter storms," S. Rutherfoord Rose, the director of the Virginia Poison Center, said in a statement released Monday.

Carbon monoxide is a gas that has no odor or color, and is produced by portable generators, furnaces run on gas and oil, and charcoal grills, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. It is deadly if inhaled.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers warned that improper use of portable generators includes using them too close to the home, like by an open bedroom window or in the garage, since there's not enough ventilation to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises using the generators more than 20 feet away from your home, and making sure you have working carbon monoxide detectors in your home.

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