Environment: Invisible Killer

Among modern technology's more unwelcome gifts is a man-made surplus of carbon monoxide, a toxic gas that cannot be seen or smelled. One way CO is formed is by burning any substance that contains carbon—fuel oil, for example, or tobacco. As a byproduct of the incomplete combustion of gasoline, CO is a prime ingredient of auto exhaust, which is the main source of air pollution in big cities.

Scientists have known for a long time that in large amounts the gas severely impairs the ability of the blood's hemoglobin to carry oxygen from lungs to tissues. The result is a loss of...

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