Dear Editor:

Please inform your reporting staff that CO2 is not the chemical formula or an abbreviation for carbon monoxide. The correct formula, or abbreviation, is CO. CO2 stand for carbon dioxide.

Carbon dioxide is a common component of our air, being exhaled by humans in every breath and by plants at night. It is deadly only when the atmosphere lacks enough oxygen to sustain life, thereby making it the primary gas in its composition.

Carbon monoxide, on the other hand, is lethal in relatively low (parts-per-million) levels. It is not a natural component of air and is most commonly produced by incomplete combustion, which is why it is associated with fires and furnaces. CO affects victims by interfering with the circulation of oxygen in the body via the bloodstream. This lack of oxygen to the brain and organs can cause illness or death.

CO2 is carbon dioxide. CO is carbon monoxide, the killer in flames.

Thank you,

Sheila Jane Wirth

Brockton