Mining Publication: Technology News 488 - Migration of Blasting Fumes into a Western Pennsylvania Home
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas that can cause illness and death by asphyxiation. although the toxicity of CO is understood, CO exposure can occur from unrecognized sources. On April 2, 2000, a couple and their newborn infant were poisoned by CO migrating through the ground from blasting at a nearby coal strip mine into their home near Kittanning, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. They were treated at the hospital and diagnosed with CO poisoning. The infant had a carboxyhemoglobin level of 31%, the father 28%, and the mother 17%. Carboxyhemoglobin is the compound formed in the blood when CO is breathed. Persons not exposed to CO have carboxyhemoglobin levels of release from the hospital, the family installed a CO detector in the basement of their home with the help of the local fire department.