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Dr. Hasan
Dr. Hasan, Doctor
Category: Health
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Experience:  MBBS, FCPS, with experience in all fields of medicine and surgery
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I have been exposed to poisonous fumes from my gas fire (I

Customer Question

I have been exposed to poisonous fumes from my gas fire
(I actually smelled them so don't know if they were carbon\
monoxide or not)

Perhaps I have been exposed to that too, as the fumes did
not draw up the chimney properly

please advise
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Dr. Hasan replied 5 years ago.

HI,

 

When exactly this happened? how many hours back exactly?

What are you feeling now? any symptoms?

 

Regards

Expert:  Andy PhD DABT replied 5 years ago.
Are you saying this was from a natural gas fireplace or was this a wood burning fire place? What kind of smell did you get? Could it have been just leaking natural gas? If it was a wood burning fire place, where you burning just wood, or were you burning another material like plastic?

Carbon monoxide does not have a smell, but is almost always present to some degree in fires. For natural gas, there is very little carbon monoxide produced when it is operating properly. When natural gas burns cleanly it is a faint blue color and very little carbon monoxide is produced, if it is not burning cleanly it may be a different color and produce more carbon monoxide. However, though many natural gas fireplaces have parts that make the flame turn yellow to simulate a wood burning fireplace, in which case a yellow flame would not necessarily indicate that it was not burning cleanly. The best thing to do is figure out what is wrong with the fireplace and get it fixed and get a carbon monoxide detector.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
This was a natural gas fire, but I don't know if you realize the
fumes released should go up the chimney but they were
not, so it is the chemicals on the fake coals etc.
perhaps I should ask a chemist
anyway they are poisonous chemicals
and I need to know what to take

it happened last week
Expert:  Andy PhD DABT replied 5 years ago.
The fake coals should not be producing any significant fumes, they are designed to be in the fire and if they did give off fumes they would disappear after use. If it is not disappearing (as it should not) then very little if any fumes should be coming off it. It can only produce as much fumes as is lost during use, so I don't think that is providing a significant amount of fumes. Since this is just a natural gas fire there should not be much of a smell to it. What will be produced would be mostly carbon dioxide and water which are not dangerous unless you are in a fully enclosed space and more toxic fumes like carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides. The carbon monoxide can cause problems, but since this happened last week then you are fine. the nitrogen and sulfur oxides also can cause respiratory problems, but they would be noticed very quickly, so again since this happened last week I think you are fine unless you have or had symptoms.

Do you have any symptoms? What did the smell smell like? Is there anything else that makes you think you were exposed to toxic fumes?
Andy PhD DABT, Toxicologist
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 137
Experience: Board certified with 20 years in research or consulting
Andy PhD DABT and 3 other Health Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Hasan replied 5 years ago.
Hi thanks for your reply and I am sorry for the delay because of being offline . Since this happened a week ago and if you donot have any symptom now , there is nothing to worry and you donot need to take anything for that because the fumes you came across are not usually damaging the way you got the exposure . However they can irritate the respiratory mucosa and for that if you are feeling any discomfort , just take OTC tablet Claritin once daily for a week. Otherwise there is nothing to worry . I wish you good luck that you remain fine . Please ask for any query. Please remember to click accept to compensate me for my time and effort here for you . Regards
Dr. Hasan, Doctor
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 8453
Experience: MBBS, FCPS, with experience in all fields of medicine and surgery
Dr. Hasan and 3 other Health Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Andy PhD DABT replied 5 years ago.
Fake coals, or artificial embers are made of rock like materials, such as rock wool, vermiculite, lava rock, or silicon dioxide. These materials don't produce fumes, they can't burn, so they should not be contributing any toxic fumes. Before 1977 they could contain asbestos, but the U.S. Consumer Protection Safety Commission banned asbestos in them (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/search/pagedetails.action?browsePath=Title+16%2FChapter+II%2FSubchapter+B%2FPart+1305&granuleId=CFR-2011-title16-vol2-part1305&packageId=CFR-2011-title16-vol2&collapse=true&fromBrowse=true&bread=true). So any fumes you were exposed to were likely just products of natural gas burning, which I mentioned above. Can you explain better why you think you were exposed to toxic fumes?