Carbon Monoxide as a messenger

Essay by BigcheeeseHigh School, 11th gradeA, April 2004

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Carbon monoxide (CO) is a gas that can be looked at from two different perspectives. It can be seen as a toxic gas that will kill all who inhale it for too long a period to time. Or it can be seen as the useful gas that helps the pancreases as well as many other organs when produced in the body. It all depends on how your body gets the carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide can enter the body through inhaling or through body production. It makes a vital difference. Carbon monoxide is a highly toxic gas. However, it doesn't kill anything through chemical changes when it gets inside of an individuals body. Nor does it cause the body any physical pain. Carbon monoxide suffocates the victim. The hemoglobin binds to the carbon monoxide with much more ease then it binds to oxygen. So when an individual inhales a breath of air that contains carbon monoxide, the body will absorb that much more hastily then it will absorb the oxygen.

This depletes the body of the necessary oxygen it needs to work. The cells cannot get any energy out of carbon monoxide like they can with oxygen. In fact, the body latches on to carbon monoxide not twice, but five times as fast as it latches on to oxygen. Which means that the one breath of air that contains carbon monoxide can cause a twenty percent loss in oxygen. The twenty percent loss in oxygen means that there had better be enough oxygen in the next breath the individual takes to fill all of the cells in the body plus that extra twenty percent. If there is not enough oxygen, more cells begin to need oxygen. If a person does not get out of the carbon monoxide infested area quickly they...