In terms of the amount of damage done to the atmosphere and living organisms per dose, then carbon monoxide is worse. This is reason we use converters in our cars today as they convert carbon monoxide emissions into carbon dioxide emissions. Exposure to large amounts of carbon monoxide is fatal for humans. For instance, if someone accidentally leaves a gas stove running or an unvented gas heater it could be fatal for those living in the home. However, it is a monitored gas for these reasons and carbon dioxide now poses a larger threat to the environment.
Carbon Monoxide has a much deadlier effect on living creatures than Carbon Dioxide. Due to its nature, CO (carbon monoxide) can bond a lot more easily to Hemoglobin, a protein in the blood stream responsible for delivering oxygen to parts of the body. Its bond with Hemoglobin prevents the protein from being able to bond with Oxygen, thus making breathing difficult or impossible. Check out what John McCarthy, a Stanford professor, has to say about the two molecule’s main differences.
Carbon monoxide is a deadly poison. Carbon dioxide is a pollutant that is making the whole planet hotter. One is bad on a local level, the other’s bad on a global level.
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